Am J Psychiatry 2009 Nov 15;166(11):1229-37. Epub 2009 Sep 15.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Objective: Family studies have suggested that postpartum mood symptoms might have a partly genetic etiology. The authors used a genome-wide linkage analysis to search for chromosomal regions that harbor genetic variants conferring susceptibility for such symptoms. The authors then fine-mapped their best linkage regions, assessing single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for genetic association with postpartum symptoms.
Method: Subjects were ascertained from two studies: the NIMH Genetics Initiative Bipolar Disorder project and the Genetics of Recurrent Early-Onset Depression. Subjects included women with a history of pregnancy, any mood disorder, and information about postpartum symptoms. In the linkage study, 1,210 women met criteria (23% with postpartum symptoms), and 417 microsatellite markers were analyzed in multipoint allele sharing analyses. For the association study, 759 women met criteria (25% with postpartum symptoms), and 16,916 SNPs in the regions of the best linkage peaks were assessed for association with postpartum symptoms.
Results: The maximum linkage peak for postpartum symptoms occurred on chromosome 1q21.3-q32.1, with a chromosome-wide significant likelihood ratio Z score (Z(LR)) of 2.93 (permutation p=0.02). This was a significant increase over the baseline Z(LR) of 0.32 observed at this locus among all women with a mood disorder (permutation p=0.004). Suggestive linkage was also found on 9p24.3-p22.3 (Z(LR)=2.91). In the fine-mapping study, the strongest implicated gene was HMCN1 (nominal p=0.00017), containing four estrogen receptor binding sites, although this was not region-wide significant.
Conclusions: This is the first study to examine the genetic etiology of postpartum mood symptoms using genome-wide data. The results suggest that genetic variations on chromosomes 1q21.3-q32.1 and 9p24.3-p22.3 may increase susceptibility to postpartum mood symptoms.