Relation between Serotonin Transporter Gene (SLC6A4) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in a Sample of New Mothers
Tobes, Daniel A.
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Post-traumatic stress disorder is a debilitating disorder that follows exposure to a traumatic event. Not everyone exposed to such an event develops the disorder; however, genetic factors may increase susceptibility for development. This study examines such a genetic factor-a polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) on the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4). The two primary alleles for this polymorphism (named the short, or “S”, allele, and the long, “L”, allele) have been implicated in varied transcriptional rates for the serotonin transporter. Through genotyping by gel electrophoresis, it was shown that mothers with newborn infants who had at least one copy of the “S” allele were statistically more likely to have more PTSD symptoms at four months postpartum than mothers without the “S” allele. A correlation also appeared between presence of the “S” allele and having had childhood physical or emotional abuse.