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13-09-2021 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 11/2021

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 11/2021

Monoaminergic Multilocus Genetic Variants Interact with Stressful Life Events in Predicting Changes in Adolescent Anxiety Symptoms: A One-year Longitudinal Study

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 11/2021
Auteurs:
Cong Cao, Kexin Sun, Lili Cao, Feifei Li
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Supplementary information

The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10964-021-01496-y.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Abstract

Research suggests that genetic variants linked to monoaminergic neurotransmitter function moderate the association between stress and anxiety symptoms, but examining gene-environment (G × E) interactions with individual genes limits power. As one of polygenetic approaches, the multilocus genetic profile score is derived theoretically from combining the effects of multiple candidate genes based on the “biological plausibility”. Using this approach, the current study examined the interaction between monoaminergic multilocus genetic variants and stressful life events on the changes in adolescent anxiety symptoms across a one-year timespan. In a Chinese Han adolescent sample which was derived from three vocational high schools (N = 587; T1: Mage = 16.47 ± 1.53 years; 50.8%, girls), the monoaminergic multilocus genetic profile score was calculated using 5-HTR2C rs6318, TPH2 rs4570625 and DRD2 rs1800497 polymorphisms. Results showed that this monoaminergic multilocus genetic profile score interacted with stressful life events in predicting changes in anxiety symptoms. Consistent with the G×E hypothesis of differential susceptibility, adolescents with more monoaminergic plasticity alleles not only suffered more from high levels of stressful life events, which increased the risk for anxiety symptoms, but also benefited more from low levels of stressful life events, which decreased the risk for anxiety symptoms. There were no significant G × E interactions when individual polymorphisms were examined in isolation. The results highlight the importance of examining aggregated influences of multiple genes in G × E interactions underlying the longitudinal development of adolescent anxiety symptoms.

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