Anxiety & Depression 5-HTTLPR Test
Do you have a family history of depression?
You may have the “grouchy” gene, linked to altered serotonin levels and an increased risk of anxiety and depression. Find out with this DNA test.
- Tests the 5-HTTLPR variant of the SLC64A gene
- People with the “grouchy” gene have an increased risk of sad feelings, depression and anxiety
- The “grouchy” gene may decrease your response to antidepressants
- 100% private and confidential online results
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that gives us feelings of pleasure and well-being. When serotonin is released from cells in the brain (neurons), it sends out signals to be happy and content.
The serotonin transporter moves serotonin from the synaptic cleft into the presynaptic neuron, allowing serotonin recycling in a sodium-dependent manner. It is also important for maintaining functional neural circuits that connect the amygdala and the cingulate regions of the brain.
People with the “grouchy” gene produce lower levels of the serotonin transporter, and have smaller amygdala and cingulate regions – two brain regions involved in emotional responses.
These changes result in an increased likelihood of anxiety and depression in people with one or more copies of the “grouchy” gene. It may also reduce the response to commonly used selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI antidepressants).
A simple mouth swab is all you need to find out if you have the “grouchy” gene.
This DNA test determines the length of the 5-HTTLPR region of the SLC64A gene. It distinguishes between the short (S) or “grouchy” form and the long (L) form of the gene.
The SLC6A4 gene is located on chromosome 17. We inherit two copies of this gene – one from each parent. Inheriting one or two copies of the short (“grouchy”) form is linked to an increased risk of depression.
- People with two copies of the short, “grouchy” form are more likely to be unhappy. They will pass this form of the SLC6A4 gene to all of their children.
- People with two copies of the long form, have a decreased risk of unhappiness and depression.
- Heterozygotes have one copy of the long form and one copy of the short form. Having one copy of the “grouchy” gene also affects the level of happiness. These people have a 50% chance of passing the grouchy gene to their children.
RESPONSE TO ANTIDEPRESSANTS
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly prescribed as first-line treatment for depression, including drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. Despite their widespread use, approximately 30-40% of individuals with depression do not appear to experience significant improvement with SSRIs.
One possible explanation for this lack of response is the presence of the “grouchy” version of the SLC6A4 gene, which is associated with reduced sensitivity to SSRIs.
The primary target of SSRIs is the serotonin transporter protein 5-HTT. Individuals with the “grouchy” gene produce lower levels of this protein, resulting in a reduced number of targets for SSRIs to bind to, ultimately reducing their effectiveness as an antidepressant treatment.
For patients carrying the “grouchy” gene, alternative antidepressant medications may be recommended.
HOW IT WORKS
Step 1: Order test kit online
Step 2: Collect DNA sample using a painless mouth swab, and mail to the lab in the provided return envelope
Step 3: Receive your results online