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Childhood abuse, the BDNF-Val66Met polymorphism and adult psychotic-like experiences

  • Silvia Alemany (a1), Bárbara Arias (a1), Mari Aguilera (a1), Helena Villa (a2), Jorge Moya (a2), Manuel I. Ibáñez (a2), Helen Vossen (a1), Cristobal Gastó (a3), Generós Ortet (a2) and Lourdes Fañanás (a4)...
Abstract
Background

The well-established relationship between childhood adversity and psychosis is likely to involve other factors such as genetic variants that can help us to understand why not everyone exposed to adverse events develops psychotic symptoms later in life.

Aims

We investigated the influence of childhood abuse and neglect on positive and negative psychotic-like experiences in adulthood and the potential moderating effect of the BDNF-Val66Met polymorphism.

Method

Psychotic-like experiences and childhood adversity were assessed in 533 individuals from the general population.

Results

Childhood abuse showed a strong independent effect on the positive dimension of psychotic-like experiences (β = 0.16, s.e. = 0.05, P = 0.002). Furthermore, this association was moderated by the BDNF-Val66Met polymorphism (β = 0.27, s.e. = 0.10, P = 0.004).

Conclusions

Individuals exposed to childhood abuse are more likely to report positive psychotic-like experiences. Met carriers reported more positive psychotic-like experiences when exposed to childhood abuse than did individuals carrying the Val/Val genotype. Therefore, the observed gene–environment interaction effect may be partially responsible for individual variation in response to childhood abuse.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Lourdes Fañanás, Unitat d'Antropologia, Dep. Biologia Animal, Facultat Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona. Av. Diagonal 645, 08028, Barcelona, Spain. Email: lfananas@ub.edu
Footnotes
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This study was supported through research projects funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation (SAF2008-05674-C03-00/03 and PSI2008-05988) and the Institute of Health Carlos III, CIBER of Mental Health (CIBERSAM) and also by the Comissionat per a Universitats i Recerca del DIUE of the Generalitat de Catalunya (2009SGR827). S.A. thanks the Institute of Health Carlos III for her PhD grant (FI00272).

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Childhood abuse, the BDNF-Val66Met polymorphism and adult psychotic-like experiences

  • Silvia Alemany (a1), Bárbara Arias (a1), Mari Aguilera (a1), Helena Villa (a2), Jorge Moya (a2), Manuel I. Ibáñez (a2), Helen Vossen (a1), Cristobal Gastó (a3), Generós Ortet (a2) and Lourdes Fañanás (a4)...
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