Journal of psychiatric research

Examining gene-environment interactions in comorbid depressive and disruptive behavior disorders using a Bayesian approach.

PMID 26228411


The objective of this study was to apply a Bayesian statistical analytic approach that minimizes multiple testing problems to explore the combined effects of chronic low familial support and variants in 12 candidate genes on risk for a common and debilitating childhood mental health condition. Bayesian mixture modeling was used to examine gene by environment interactions among genetic variants and environmental factors (family support) associated in previous studies with the occurrence of comorbid depression and disruptive behavior disorders youth, using a sample of 255 children. One main effect, variants in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR, rs53576) was associated with increased risk for comorbid disorders. Two significant gene × environment and one signification gene × gene interactions emerged. Variants in the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor α5 subunit (CHRNA5, rs16969968) and in the glucocorticoid receptor chaperone protein FK506 binding protein 5 (FKBP5, rs4713902) interacted with chronic low family support in association with child mental health status. One gene × gene interaction, 5-HTTLPR variant of the serotonin transporter (SERT/SLC6A4) in combination with μ opioid receptor (OPRM1, rs1799971) was associated with comorbid depression and conduct problems. Results indicate that Bayesian modeling is a feasible strategy for conducting behavioral genetics research. This approach, combined with an optimized genetic selection strategy (Vrieze et al., 2012), revealed genetic variants involved in stress regulation (FKBP5, SERT × OPMR), social bonding (OXTR), and nicotine responsivity (CHRNA5) in predicting comorbid status.