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BACKGROUND: Both obesity and lean mass have been correlated with symptoms of depression. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the contribution of genetic and environmental factors in the co-occurrence of obesity and lean mass with symptoms of depression. METHODS: Individuals were 2383 participants of the Erasmus Rucphen Family study. Symptoms of depression were assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Anthropometric and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry total body scans were obtained for the assessment of body composition. The role of shared genetic and shared environmental factors was quantified by estimating genetic and environmental correlations between symptoms of depression and measures of body composition. RESULTS: Phenotypic correlations between body composition and symptoms of depression ranged from -0.08 to 0.08. Heritability estimates for body composition ranged from 0.40 to 0.46 (P<0.001) in women and from 0.35 to 0.51 (P<0.001) in men, and heritability estimates for depression scores were higher in women (0.34 and 0.37) than in men (0.13 and 0.21). No consistent genetic correlations between measures of body composition and symptoms of depression were found. We did find a significant consistent environmental correlation between depression scores and lean mass index (environmental correlation=-0.23 for Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale and -0.31 for Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale). CONCLUSION: In our study, there is no evidence that the co-occurrence of symptoms of depression and body composition result from a common genetic pathway.

Original publication

DOI

10.1097/ypg.0b013e328320804e

Type

Journal article

Journal

Psychiatric genetics

Publication Date

02/2009

Volume

19

Pages

32 - 38

Addresses

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Genetic Epidemiology Unit, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Keywords

Humans, Antidepressive Agents, Depression, Environment, Body Composition, Inheritance Patterns, Phenotype, Adolescent, Adult, Middle Aged, Female, Male