Genetic liability for depression, social factors and their interaction effect in depressive symptoms and depression over time in older adults

Najada Stringa*, Yuri Milaneschi, Natasja M. van Schoor, Bianca Suanet, Sven van der Lee, Henne Holstege, Marcel J.T. Reinders, Aartjan T.F. Beekman, Martijn Huisman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Objectives
The objectives of this study were to investigate the effect of genetic and social factors on depressive symptoms and depression over time and to test whether social factors moderate the relationship between depressive symptoms and its underlying genetics in later life.

Methods
The study included 2,279 participants with a mean follow-up of 15 years from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam with genotyping data. The personal genetic loading for depression was estimated for each participant by calculating a polygenic risk scores (PRS-D), based on 23,032 single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with major depression in a large genome-wide association study. Partner status, network size, received and given emotional support were assessed via questionnaires and depressive symptoms were assessed using the CES-D Scale. A CES-D Scale of 16 and higher was considered as clinically relevant depression.

Results
Higher PRS-D was associated with more depressive symptoms whereas having a partner and having a larger network size were independently associated with less depressive symptoms. After extra adjustment for education, cognitive function and functional limitations, giving more emotional support was also associated with less depressive symptoms. No evidence for gene-environment interaction between PRS-D and social factors was found. Similar results were found for clinically relevant depression.

Conclusion
Genetic and social factors are independently associated with depressive symptoms over time in older adults. Strategies that boost social functioning should be encouraged in the general population of older adults regardless of the genetic liability for depression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)844-855
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume28
Issue number8
Early online date8 Mar 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Funding

The Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam is largely supported by a grant from the Netherlands Ministry of Health , Welfare and Sports, Directorate of Long-Term Care. The data collection in 2012–2013 and 2013–2014 was financially supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) in the framework of the project “New Cohorts of young old in the 21st century” (file number 480-10-014). Genotyping for the first cohort using the Axiom-NL array was financially supported by a grant from EMGO+ Research Institute.

FundersFunder number
Netherlands Ministry of Health , Welfare and Sports, Directorate of Long-Term Care
Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports, Directorate of Long-Term Care
CHEO Research Institute
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek480-10-014

    Keywords

    • Depressive symptoms
    • emotional support
    • gene-environment interaction
    • network size
    • older adults
    • partner status
    • polygenic risk score
    • social factors

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