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Genetic Markers, Suicidal Feelings in Treatment Linked

Two markers connected with suicidal ideation during treatment of depressed patients

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Two genetic markers are strongly linked to suicidal tendencies during treatment of patients with major depression, researchers report in the October issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Gonzalo Laje, M.D., of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues studied DNA samples from 1,915 major depression patients taking citalopram for up to 14 weeks. The investigators compared genotype and allele frequencies in non-suicidal patients with those of 120 patients feeling suicidal during treatment.

The researchers found two genetic markers strongly linked to suicidal tendencies, in the GRIA3 and GRIK2 genes.

"Markers within GRIK2 and GRIA3 were associated with treatment-emergent suicidal ideation during citalopram therapy," the authors write. "If replicated, these findings may shed light on the biological basis of this potentially dangerous adverse event."

In an editorial, Elliot Gershon, M.D., of the University of Chicago, writes: "This study has the methodologic virtues of prospectively collected clinical data and independence of the clinical data from the experimental variables (genotypes). It is very strongly suggestive, and as the authors state, if replicated it would be a major clinical and biological advance if a dangerous clinical event were associated with specific genetic variations."

Multiple authors have served as advisor, consultant or speaker for various pharmaceutical firms including Forest, the manufacturer of citalopram, and several of the study authors are co-inventors of a provisional patent application that is related to the study findings.

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