The genetic influence of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on antidepressant efficacy has been previously demonstrated. To evaluate whether there are ethnic differences, we compared the allele frequencies of antidepressant efficacy-related SNPs between the Taiwanese population and four other populations in the HapMap database. We recruited 198 Taiwanese major depression patients and 106 Taiwanese controls. A panel of possible relevant SNPs (in brain-derived neurotrophic factor, 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 2A, interleukin 1 beta, and G-protein beta 3 subunit genes) was selected for comparisons of allele frequencies using the χ2 test. Our results suggested no difference between Taiwanese patients and controls, but there were significant differences among Taiwanese controls and the other four ethnic groups in brain-derived neurotrophic factor, 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 2A, interleukin 1 beta and G-protein beta 3 subunit genes. We conclude that there are ethnic differences in the allele frequencies of antidepressant efficacyrelated SNPs, and that the degree of variations is consistent with geographic distances. Further investigation is required to verify the attribution of genetic differences to ethnic-specific antidepressant responses.
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