Title
Mechanisms of gene-environment interactions in depression: evidence that genes potentiate multiple sources of adversity Mechanisms of gene-environment interactions in depression: evidence that genes potentiate multiple sources of adversity
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Publication type
article
Publication
London ,
Subject
Human medicine
Source (journal)
Psychological medicine. - London, 1970, currens
Volume/pages
39(2009) :7 , p. 1077-1086
ISSN
0033-2917
1469-8978
ISI
000267296100004
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Background Previous work suggests that daily life stress-sensitivity may be an intermediary phenotype associated with both genetic risk for depression and developmental stress exposures. In the current analysis we hypothesized that genetic risk for depression and three environmental exposures over the course of development [prenatal stress, childhood adversity and adult negative life events (NLEs)] combine synergistically to produce the phenotype of stress-sensitivity. Method Twin pairs (n=279) participated in a momentary assessment study using the Experience Sampling Method (ESM), collecting appraisals of stress and negative affect (NA) in the flow of daily life. Prospective data on birthweight and gestational age, questionnaire data on childhood adversity and recent NLEs, and interview data on depression were used in the analyses. Daily life stress-sensitivity was modelled as the effect of ESM daily life stress appraisals on ESM NA. Results All three developmental stress exposures were moderated by genetic vulnerability, modelled as dizygotic (DZ) or monozygotic (MZ) co-twin depression status, in their effect on daily life stress-sensitivity. Effects were much stronger in participants with MZ co-twin depression and a little stronger in participants with DZ co-twin depression status, compared to those without co-twin depression. NLE main effects and NLE genetic moderation were reducible to birthweight and childhood adversity. Conclusions The findings are consistent with the hypothesis that adult daily life stress-sensitivity is the result of sensitization processes initiated by developmental stress exposures. Genes associated with depression may act by accelerating the process of stress-induced sensitization.
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