Response to citalopram is not associated with SLC6A4 genotype in African-Americans and Caucasians with major depression

Russell E. Poland, Ira M. Lesser, Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan, Lev Gertsik, Jie Yao, Leslie J. Raffel, Keh Ming Lin, Hector F. Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Aims Ethnic differences in genotype frequency provide a natural condition for assessing the contribution of gene variations to the causes and treatments of disease. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to determine whether ethnic variations in allele frequencies of the serotonin transporter gene-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) of the SLC6A4 gene were related to the response to the treatment of depression. Main methods African-Americans (n = 101) and Caucasians (n = 100) with major depressive disorder were treated with the antidepressant citalopram (20-60 mg/day) for 8 weeks. Genotyping for the long (L) and short (s) alleles (LL, Ls, and ss) of the SLC6A4 gene was performed and the association between genotype and treatment response was assessed. Key findings Subjects in both ethnic groups showed a significant reduction in depression scores over time (p <.0001). However, in spite of a significantly greater frequency of the L allele in African-Americans as compared to Caucasians, a comparable clinical response between the two groups was found with 5-HTTLPR polymorphism not significantly associated with clinical response in either ethnic group. Significance The results are consistent with a previous finding and in accord with most of the results obtained in Caucasian subjects that SLC6A4 genotype is not related, at least by itself, to a response to treatment in either ethnic group to any clinically significant degree.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)967-970
Number of pages4
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number20-21
StatePublished - May 30 2013


  • Depression Ethnicity Genotype Pharmacogenomics African-American

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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