Role of COMT, 5-HT 1A, and SERT genetic polymorphisms on antidepressant response to transcranial magnetic stimulation

Alessia Malaguti, David Rossini, Adelio Lucca, Lorenzo Magri, Cristina Lorenzi, Adele Pirovano, Christina Colombo, Enrico Smeraldi, Raffaella Zanardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an effective technique in the treatment of depression, specifically in drug-resistant patients. However, there is little data available on the influence of genetic variables on TMS response. Methods: We analyzed the role of three genetic polymorphisms that affected the antidepressant response: serotonin transporter promoter region (SERTPR) polymorphism, 5-HT 1A serotonergic receptor promoter region polymorphism (rs6295), and the coding region of COMT gene polymorphism (rs4680). Ninety patients with a major depressive drug-resistant episode due to a Major Depressive Disorder or to a Bipolar Disorder were included in our study. Patients underwent high frequency TMS, focused on the left prefrontal cortex, for 2 weeks. At study completion, the response rate was 45.5%. Effects of gene polymorphisms on clinical improvement were analyzed with an analysis of variance with each gene (SERTPR, 5-HT 1A, and COMT) as factors and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression variation from baseline to the end of the treatment as a dependent variable. Results: We found a significant model in which three factors were not significant (diagnosis, COMT, and SERTPR), whereas factor 5-HT 1A showed a significant influence on the outcome, with patients with C/C genotype showing a greater improvement than G/G and C/G and no difference between G/G and C/G. Conclusion: According to our data, 5-HT 1A polymorphism may play a role in influencing TMS response. The effect of COMT and SERTPR did not reach statistical significance. The analysis of these and other candidate genes in larger samples could help explain genetic influence on TMS response. Depression and Anxiety, 2011.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)568-573
Number of pages6
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


  • 5-HT1A
  • COMT
  • depression
  • genetic
  • serotonin transporter
  • TMS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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