The MTHFR C677T polymorphism is associated with depressive episodes in patients from Northern Ireland.J Psychopharmacol 2004; 18(4):567-71JP
Low plasma folate and its derivatives have been linked with depressive disorders in studies dating back over 30 years. A thermolabile variant (677C>T) of the enzyme 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) is associated with low serum folate. The present study aimed to explore whether the thermolabile variant of MTHFR is associated with a vulnerability to depressive episodes. MTHFR C677T genotype frequencies in a cohort of patients (mean age 48 years) with depressive disorder (n = 100) were compared with those in age- and sex-matched controls. Serum levels of folate, homocysteine and vitamin B(12) were also compared between groups. The thermolabile variant of MTHFR was significantly more common in the group with a history of depressive disorder (P= 0.03). Serum levels of folate, homocysteine and vitamin B(12) did not differ significantly between groups. A MTHFR C677T genotype is associated with increased risk of depressive episodes in this homogenous patient population.