Research results, which were accepted for rapid publication and published today in the American Journal of Medical Genetics, show significant evidence for linkage of unipolar mood disorders to a specific region of chromosome 2q33-35 in women. The findings suggest that a gene in this region contributes to the vulnerability of women in families afflicted with recurrent, early onset major depressive disorder (RE-MDD), to developing mood disorders of varying severity. Men with the same genetic background did not have any more chance of developing mood disorders than normal.
"We have narrowed our search for a susceptibility locus for clinical depression to a small region of chromosome 2 that constitutes only 0.01% of the human genome," said lead author George S. Zubenko, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and adjunct professor of biological sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. "These results confirm our earlier findings this year that the susceptibility gene in this region selectively affects the vulnerability of women, but not men, to developing severe depression."
According to Dr. Zubenko, women are twice as likely to develop depression as men, and this study provides evidence that genetic differences may account for some of that disparity. The narrow region of chromosome 2 highlighted by the researchers contains only about eight genes, including a gene called CREB1, which is an excellent candidate for a susceptibility gene for mood disorders. The CREB1 gene encodes a regulatory protein (CREB) that orchestrate
Contact: Craig Dunhoff
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center