Neuroscience letters

The polymorphisms in serotonin-related genes (5-HT₂A and SERT) and the prevalence of depressive symptoms in obese patients.

PMID 25486590


As overweight and obesity are a growing problem in industrialized societies, they become a main focus of many studies. The aim of this study was to determine whether there is an association between the occurrence of polymorphisms in serotonin-related genes and the prevalence of depressive symptoms in obese patients. Two polymorphisms were tested: a 44-bp insertion/deletion in the serotonin transporter (SERT) gene and a single-nucleotide variation (1438G/A) in the serotonin 2A receptor (5-HT2A) gene. The study involved 180 patients (41 men; 139 women) previously diagnosed as obese. All patients were subjected to clinical, biochemical, and neuropsychological evaluation and genotyping. Amplification of the gene fragments was obtained by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method. Products of the genotyping were separated via electrophoresis. The intensity of depressive symptoms was measured using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Hamilton Depression Scale (HAM-D). Clinically relevant depressive symptoms were diagnosed in 39% of subjects. The lowest intensities of depressive symptoms were ascertained in the group with the least advanced obesity, but this trend was statistically insignificant. Small differences were observed in obesity indicators among three groups of patients with various genotypes of the SERT gene, but these differences were also statistically insignificant. Furthermore, in the context of the intensity of depressive symptoms, no significant associations were observed in these two groups. Furthermore, no statistically significant differences were observed among specific obesity parameters and intensity of depressive symptoms as a function of the 5-HT2A gene polymorphism. To conclude, depressive symptoms were prevalent in obese participants: 39% of subjects experienced symptoms of clinical relevance. However, no significant associations were observed between 5-HT2A and SERT gene polymorphisms and depressive symptoms in this study group.