A new study assessed the effects of a genetic variant on resting-state brain function in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), by comparing the brains of affected patients and healthy controls. Using genotyping and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain, the research team identified an association between a specific SLC6A15 polymorphism and resting-state brain function in multiple brain regions in patients with MDD. The study is published in Genetic Testing and Molecular Biomarkers, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.
The study by Kerang Zhang and coauthors from the First Hospital and First Clinical Medical College of Shanxi Medical University (Taiyuan, China) focused on patients experiencing their first episode of MDD. The researchers showed differences in hemodynamic activity across various brain regions that correlated with the presence of the SLC6A15 gene variant. They reported an association between genotype and fMRI results of the corpus callosum, cingulum, and the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes in the article entitled "A Combined Study of SLC6A15 Gene Polymorphism and the Resting-State Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging in First-Episode Drug-Naive Major Depressive Disorder."
"This is absolutely bleeding-edge neurogenetics that combines genotyping with both clinical diagnoses and fMRI-defined phenotypes," says Genetic Testing and Molecular Biomarkers Editor-in-Chief Garth D. Ehrlich, PhD, FAAAS, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Executive Director, Center for Genomic Sciences and Center for Advanced Microbial Processing, Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease, Drexel College of Medicine.