The serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) of the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) S allele is linked to pathogenesis of depression and slower response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs); depression and SSRIs are independently associated with bone loss. We aimed to determine whether 5-HTTLPR was associated with bone loss. This cross-sectional study included psychiatric patients with both 5-HTTLPR analysis and bone mineral density (BMD) assessment (hip and spine Z-scores if age <50 years and T-scores if ⩾50 years). BMD association with 5-HTTLPR was evaluated under models with additive allele effects and dominant S allele effects using linear regression models. Patients were stratified by age (<50 and ⩾50 years) and sex. Of 3016 patients with 5-HTTLPR genotyping, 239 had BMD assessments. Among the younger patients, the S allele was associated with lower Z-scores at the hip (P=0.002, dominant S allele effects; P=0.004, additive allele effects) and spine (P=0.0006, dominant S allele effects; P=0.01, additive allele effects). In sex-stratified analyses, the association of the S allele with lower BMD in the younger patients was also significant in the subset of women (P⩽0.003 for both hip and spine BMD under the additive allele effect model). In the small group of men younger than 50 years, the S allele was marginally associated with higher spine BMD (P=0.05). BMD T-scores were not associated with 5-HTTLPR genotypes in patients 50 years or older. The 5-HTTLPR variants may modify serotonin effects on bone with sex-specific effects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Biological Psychiatry