Genes and Anxiety

by F.

A paper published in the October issue of Science describes research showing that

A common single-nucleotide polymorphism in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene… may… play a key role in genetic predispositions to anxiety and depressive disorders.

The researchers

generated a variant BDNF mouse (BDNFMet/Met) that reproduces the phenotypic hallmarks in humans with the variant allele. BDNFMet was expressed in brain at normal levels, but its secretion from neurons was defective. When placed in stressful settings, BDNFMet/Met mice exhibited increased anxiety-related behaviors that were not normalized by the antidepressant, fluoxetine.

Some comments on the paper can be found here and here.