Objectives. Evidence has suggested that the serotonin transporter (SERT) plays a role in the pathogenesis of alcohol dependence, anxiety and depression and that polymorphisms of the serotonin-transporter-linked promoter region (5-HTTLPR) may infl uence the SERT. This study evaluated the differences in SERT availability between healthy controls and alcoholic patients and the impact of 5-HTTLPR polymorphisms on SERT availability. Methods. Eleven healthy controls and 28 alcoholic patients were recruited. SERT availability was measured in vivo with single photon emission computed tomography and 123 I-labelled 2-((2-((dimethyl-amino)methyl)phenyl)thio)-5-iodophenylamine in the midbrain, thalamus and striatum. Each subject was genotyped for the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism. Results. Compared to healthy controls, there was a signifi cantly lower availability of SERT in the midbrain among patients with pure alcohol dependence (pure ALC). Of patients with anxiety, depression and alcohol dependence (ANX/DEPALC), the carriers of one L A allele showed a signify cantly higher availability of SERT in the striatum compared to non-L A carriers. After Bonferroni correction, these signifi cances vanished. There were no signifi cant differences in SERT availability between controls and ANX/DEP ALC. Conclusions. The results suggest that pure alcoholics may have lower SERT availability in the midbrain; the 5HTTLPR polymorphism may infl uence SERT availability in ANX/DEP ALC. These fi ndings may serve as a springboard for future large-scale studies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry