Interest in finding key candidate genes that are associated with the development of OCD was high, as it could help with identifying OCD before it begins and inform treatment.
This study by Dr. Voyiaziakis and his team aimed to find a possible candidate gene for OCD in a large US-based sample consisting of 1,241 participants from 278 families from the OCD Collaborative Genetics Study. Through genomic tools, the team focused on the variations in the SLC6A4 gene, encoding for serotonin (a neurotransmitter linked to many functions in the brain and body, including mood, cognition, and memory) transmission that is also the target for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — medications that are effective for OCD treatment. The study ultimately found evidence for an association between SLC6A4 and OCD, and clarified the lack of association between a few alleles in that gene that informed previous hypotheses related to the genetics of OCD.
Voyiaziakis, E., Evgrafov, O., Li, D., Yoon, H-J., Tabares, P., Samuels, J., Wang, Y., Riddle, M.A., Grados, M.A., Bienvenu, O.J., Shugart, Y.Y., Liang, K-Y., Greenberg, B.D., Rasmussen, S.A., Murphy, D.L., Wendland, J.R., McCracken, J.T., Piacentini, J., Rauch, S.L., Pauls, D.L., Nestadt, G., Fyer, A.J., & Knowles, J.A. (2011). Association of SLC6A4 variants with obsessive-compulsive disorder in a large multi-center US family study. Molecular Psychiatry, 16(1), 108-120. doi:10.1038/mp.2009.100