Genetic linkage of region containing the CREB1 gene to depressive disorders in women from families with Recurrent, Early-Onset, Major Depression

George S. Zubenko, Hugh B. Hughes, Brion S. Maher, J. Scott Stiffler, Wendy N. Zubenko, Mary L. Marazita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


This report describes the results of a model-free linkage analysis of six polymorphic markers, located in a 15 cM region of chromosome 2q33-35, and unipolar Mood Disorders in 81 families identified by probands with Recurrent, Early-Onset Major Depressive Disorder (RE-MDD), a severe and familial form of clinical depression. Our findings reveal significant evidence of linkage of unipolar Mood Disorders to a 451 Kb region of 2q33-34 flanked by D2S2321 and D2S2208 in these families. Increasing peak LOD scores were observed in both the single point and multipoint analyses for Mood Disorder phenotypes whose definitions embodied progressively less stringent severity criteria for inclusion in the affected group. The sex- dependent multipoint linkage analysis of any Major or Minor Mood Disorders produced LOD scores that reached 6.331 and 6.866 at D2S2321 and D2S2208, respectively. Linkage of Mood Disorders to this region was observed exclusively among female affected relative pairs; no suggestion of linkage was observed when male affected relative pairs were analyzed. These observations imply that a sex-specific susceptibility gene in this region contributes to the vulnerability of women in these families to the development of unipolar Mood Disorders that ranged in severity from minor to severe at the time of clinical assessment. The region between the markers that yielded the peak LOD score includes the CREB1 gene, which encodes a cAMP-responsive element-binding protein (CREB) that is a member of the bZIP family of transcription factors. Based on considerable clinical and preclinical evidence, CREB1 is an attractive candidate for a susceptibility gene for unipolar Mood Disorders. The sex-specificity of the susceptibility locus identified by our study may result from reported synergistic interactions of CREB with nuclear estrogen receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)980-987
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics - Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 8 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • CREB1
  • Chromosome 2q
  • Genetics
  • Major depression
  • Sex specificity
  • Unipolar mood disorders
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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