Case control and family-based studies of tryptophan hydroxylase gene A218C polymorphism and suicidality in adolescents

Gil Zalsman*, Amos Frisch, Robert A. King, David L. Pauls, Dorothy E. Grice, Joel Gelernter, John Alsobrook, Elena Michaelovsky, Alan Apter, Samuel Tyano, Abraham Weizman, James F. Leckman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The association of suicidality with polymorphism A218C in intron 7 of tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) gene remains controversial. The aim of this study was to use family-based methods to examine this association in adolescents in order to eliminate the difficulty of sampling a control group from the same ethnic population. Eighty-eight inpatient adolescents who recently attempted suicide were assessed by structured interview for detailed clinical history, diagnoses, suicide intent, suicide risk, impulsivity, aggression, and depression. DNA samples were collected from all subjects, from both biological parents of 40 subjects and from one parent of 9 subjects; TPH allele frequencies were calculated and tested for association to phenotype, stratified by severity, using the haplotype relative risk (HRR) and transmission disequilibrium test (TDT) methods (n = 49). The frequencies were also compared for all the Jewish subjects (n = 84) to the known frequencies of these alleles in healthy Jewish populations. There was no significant allelic association of A218C polymorphism with suicidal behavior or other phenotypic measures according to the HRR method (chi-square = 0.094; P = 0.76), the TDT (chi-square = 0.258; P = 0.61), or association analysis to known population frequencies (chi-square = 1.667, P = 0.19 for Ashkenazi, and chi-square = 0.810, P = 0.37 for non-Ashkenazi). Analysis of variance with the Scheffè test demonstrated a significant difference between CC and AA genotypes in suicide risk and depression among the patients (n = 88). The findings suggest that polymorphism A218C has no major relevance to the pathogenesis of adolescent suicidal behavior, but may have a subtle effect on some related phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-457
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 8 Jul 2001


  • Adolescence
  • Genes
  • Haplotype relative risk
  • Suicide
  • Transmission disequilibrium test

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