News and Insights for

your best life. Online since 1998
Premium: i contenuti riservati agli abbonati.
Italiano -English
N.B.: Different languages can express different contents.

Anxiety and gender interaction moderates right amygdala volume (2013-11-14)

Genetic variants within the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) impact the neurobiology and risk for anxiety-related behaviours. There are also gender differences in the prevalence of anxiety-related behaviours.

Although numerous studies have investigated the influence of 5-HTTLPR genotype on the neural systems involved in emotional regulation, none have investigated how these effects are modulated by gender and anxiety.



Researchers investigated this issue using two complementary region of interest-based structural neuroimaging approaches (voxel-based morphometry and Freesurfer) in 138 healthy individuals categorized into ‘no anxiety’ and ‘subclinical anxiety’ groups based on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety (HAM-A).

Preliminarily, using anxiety as a continuous variable, researchers found a significant interaction effect of genotype by gender on anxiety. Females homozygous for the Short allele showed the highest HAM-A scores and males the lowest.
In addition, a three-way significant interaction among genotype, gender and anxiety category was found for the right amygdala volume.
Post hoc tests revealed that homozygous females carrying the Short variant with a subclinical anxiety condition had larger volume.

The reported interaction effects demonstrate that gender strongly modulates the relationship between 5-HTTLPR genotype and subclinical expression of anxiety acting on amygdala, one region of the emotional neural network specifically involved in the anxiety-like behaviours.


Antonio Cerasa, Aldo Quattrone Fabrizio Piras, Graziella Mangone, Angela Magariello, Sabrina Fagioli, Paolo Girardi, Maria Muglia, Carlo Caltagirone
Gianfranco Spalletta.

For more information
'5-HTTLPR, anxiety and gender interaction moderates right amygdala volume in healthy subjects'