Vesicular monoamine transporters are involved in the presynaptic packaging of norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin into storage vesicles. The vesicles release their content upon arrival of an action potential into the synaptic cleft. Dysregulation of monoaminergic neurotransmission has been long postulated to play a relevant role in the etiology of neuropsychiatric disorders. The gene encoding the vesicular monoamine transporter 1 (VMAT1/SLC18A1) maps to chromosome 8p21, a region where several linkage peaks overlap between schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and anxiety-related personality traits. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the missence variation Thr136Ile in the VMAT1/SLC18A1 gene is associated with anxiety-related personality traits. We tested a total of 337 unrelated subjects of German descent (167 male, 170 female). All participants were carefully screened for psychiatric disorders. The self-report State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) was completed by all subjects. Genotypes were obtained for the Thr136Ile (rs1390938) variation in the VMAT1 gene for all subjects. Genotype effects on personality variables were computed with MANOVA including age as a co-variant and gender as independent factor (MANCOVA). Results show that STAI scores were significantly affected by genotype (F = 3.108; d.f. = 4,331; p = 0.015) and age (F = 7.233; d.f. = 2,331; p = 0.001) but not by gender. A gender-by-genotype effect was observed for both the STAI state (p = 0.052) and trait score (p = 0.035). Dissection of the group by gender and subsequent contrast analysis of the genotype effects performed within the female group showed significant results (STAI state: Thr/Ile vs. Ile/Ile: T = 4.408, p = 0.0004; STAI trait: Thr/Ile vs. Ile/Ile: T = 3.074, p = 0.009) but not in the male group. Our findings support the hypothesis that anxiety-related personality traits are associated with variation in the VMAT1/SLC18A1 gene.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes