Genetic moderation of the effects of child maltreatment on depression and internalizing symptoms was investigated in a sample of low-income maltreated and nonmaltreated African American children (N = 1,096). Lifetime child maltreatment experiences were independently coded from Child Protective Services records and maternal report. Child depression and internalizing problems were assessed in the context of a summer research camp by self-report on the Children's Depression Inventory and adult counselor report on the Teacher Report Form. DNA was obtained from buccal cell or saliva samples and genotyped for polymorphisms of the following genes: serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), norepinephrine transporter, and corticotropin releasing hormone receptor 1. Analyses of covariance with age and gender as covariates were conducted, with maltreatment status and respective polymorphism as main effects and their Gene × Environment (G × E) interactions. Maltreatment consistently was associated with higher Children's Depression Inventory and Teacher Report Form symptoms. The results for child self-report symptoms indicated a G × E interaction for BDNF and maltreatment. In addition, BDNF and triallelic 5-HTTLPR interacted with child maltreatment in a G × G × E interaction. Analyses for counselor report of child anxiety/depression symptoms on the Teacher Report Form indicated moderation of child maltreatment effects by triallelic 5-HTTLPR. These effects were elaborated based on variation in developmental timing of maltreatment experiences. Norepinephrine transporter was found to further moderate the G × E interaction of 5-HTTLPR and maltreatment status, revealing a G × G × E interaction. This G × G × E was extended by consideration of variation in maltreatment subtype experiences. Finally, G × G × E effects were observed for the co-action of BDNF and the corticotropin releasing hormone receptor 1 haplotype. The findings illustrate the variable influence of specific genotypes in G × E interactions based on variation in maltreatment experiences and the importance of a multigenic approach for understanding influences on depression and internalizing symptoms among African American children.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2014 Cambridge University Press.