ELS, 5-HTTLPR and white matter

Proposal details

Title: The impact of early life stress and 5HTTLPR on white matter integrity
Research Area(s): Individual Differences
Background: Background: Previous studies have suggested that variation in the serotonin transporter gene-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) is associated with heightened neural activity in limbic and prefrontal regions in response to emotional stimuli. Studies have also demonstrated increased risk of depression, anxiety, and stress following early life stress in carriers of the 5HTTLPR genotype. However, no study to date has examined the influence of the 5-HTTLPR on white matter integrity in response to early life stress (ELS).
Aims: The specific aim of the current study is to investigate the relationship between white matter (WM) integrity, ELS, and the 5-HTT polymorphism in a healthy adult population. Specifically, we seek to determine the interaction effect of these variables on FA in the uncinate fasciculus (UF).
Method: We propose to use data from BRID to investigate the main effects and interaction of 5HTT (S versus L alleles) and self-reported history of early life stress on WM integrity, with age as a covariate. We expect those with the low expressing serotonin polymorphism, 5HTTLPR will have reduced FA in the uncinate fasciculus, contributing to biased regulation of emotional stumuli. Depression, anxiety, and stress scores will also be observed in the analysis.