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Articles by A Marusic
Total Records ( 2 ) for A Marusic
  S Keller , M Sarchiapone , F Zarrilli , A Videtic , A Ferraro , V Carli , S Sacchetti , F Lembo , A Angiolillo , N Jovanovic , F Pisanti , R Tomaiuolo , A Monticelli , J Balazic , A Roy , A Marusic , S Cocozza , A Fusco , C. B Bruni , G Castaldo and L. Chiariotti

Context  Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays a pivotal role in the pathophysiology of suicidal behavior and BDNF levels are decreased in the brain and plasma of suicide subjects. So far, the mechanisms leading to downregulation of BDNF expression are poorly understood.

Objectives  To test the hypothesis that alterations of DNA methylation could be involved in the dysregulation of BDNF gene expression in the brain of suicide subjects.

Design  Three independent quantitative methylation techniques were performed on postmortem samples of brain tissue. BDNF messenger RNA levels were determined by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction.

Setting  Academic medical center.

Patients or Other Participants  Forty-four suicide completers and 33 nonsuicide control subjects of white ethnicity.

Main Outcome Measures  The DNA methylation degree at BDNF promoter IV and the genome-wide DNA methylation levels in the brain's Wernicke area.

Results  Postmortem brain samples from suicide subjects showed a statistically significant increase of DNA methylation at specific CpG sites in BDNF promoter/exon IV compared with nonsuicide control subjects (P < .001). Most of the CpG sites lying in the –300/+500 region, on both strands, had low or no methylation, with the exception of a few sites located near the transcriptional start site that had differential methylation, while genome-wide methylation levels were comparable among the subjects. The mean methylation degree at the 4 CpG sites analyzed by pyrosequencing was always less than 12.9% in the 33 nonsuicide control subjects, while in 13 of 44 suicide victims (30%), the mean methylation degree ranged between 13.1% and 34.2%. Higher methylation degree corresponded to lower BDNF messenger RNA levels.

Conclusions  BDNF promoter/exon IV is frequently hypermethylated in the Wernicke area of the postmortem brain of suicide subjects irrespective of genome-wide methylation levels, indicating that a gene-specific increase in DNA methylation could cause or contribute to the downregulation of BDNF expression in suicide subjects. The reported data reveal a novel link between epigenetic alteration in the brain and suicidal behavior.

  P Huezo Diaz , R Uher , R Smith , M Rietschel , N Henigsberg , A Marusic , O Mors , W Maier , J Hauser , D Souery , A Placentino , A Zobel , E. R Larsen , P. M Czerski , B Gupta , F Hoda , N Perroud , A Farmer , I Craig , K. J Aitchison and P. McGuffin


There have been conflicting reports on whether the length polymorphism in the promoter of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) moderates the antidepressant effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). We hypothesised that the pharmacogenetic effect of 5-HTTLPR is modulated by gender, age and other variants in the serotonin transporter gene.


To test the hypothesis that the 5-HTTLPR differently influences response to escitalopram (an SSRI) compared with nortriptyline (a noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor).


The 5-HTTLPR and 13 additional markers across the serotonin transporter gene were genotyped in 795 adults with moderate-to-severe depression treated with escitalopram or nortriptyline in the Genome Based Therapeutic Drugs for Depression (GENDEP) project.


The 5-HTTLPR moderated the response to escitalopram, with long-allele carriers improving more than short-allele homozygotes. A significant three-way interaction between 5-HTTLPR, drug and gender indicated that the effect was concentrated in males treated with escitalopram. The single-nucleotide polymorphism rs2020933 also influenced outcome.


The effect of 5-HTTLPR on antidepressant response is SSRI specific conditional on gender and modulated by another polymorphism at the 5' end of the serotonin transporter gene.

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