Serotonin transporter polymorphisms (SLC6A4 insertion/deletion and rs25531) do not affect the availability of 5-HTT to [11C] DASB binding in the living human brain.
Murthy NV., Selvaraj S., Cowen PJ., Bhagwagar Z., Riedel WJ., Peers P., Kennedy JL., Sahakian BJ., Laruelle MA., Rabiner EA., Grasby PM.
Studies in vitro suggest that the expression of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) is regulated by polymorphic variation in the promoter region of the 5-HTT gene (5-HTTLPR); however, results from human brain imaging studies examining the relation between 5-HTT genotype and 5-HTT radioligand binding in vivo have been inconsistent. This inconsistency could reflect small participant numbers or the use of sub-optimal radiotracer for measuring the 5-HTT. We used positron emission tomography in conjunction with the selective 5-HTT ligand [(11)C] DASB to examine the availability of the 5-HTT in seven brain regions in 63 healthy European caucasian volunteers who were genotyped for short (S) and long (L) variants (SLC6A4 and rs25531) of the 5-HTTLPR. [(11)C] DASB binding potential was not influenced by the allelic status of participants whether classified on a biallelic or triallelic basis in any of the regions studied. Our PET findings, in a relatively large sample with a near optimal radiotracer, suggest that 5-HTTLPR polymorphic variation does not affect the availability of 5-HTT to [(11)C] DASB binding in adult human brain. The reported impact of 5-HTTLPR polymorphic variation on emotional processing and vulnerability to depression are more likely therefore to be expressed through effects exerted during neurodevelopment.