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There are numerous reports of decreased binding to platelet serotonin transporter (5-HTT) in depression, suggesting that it might be considered a trait marker of depression. To further investigate whether reduced 5-HTT function could be an endophenotype in manic depressive illness, we looked for abnormalities of platelet 5-HTT among subjects who are potential carriers of genetic vulnerability to manic depressive illness (MDI). Blood samples were obtained from 20 unaffected relatives from families with at least two individuals with bipolar disorder and from 19 control participants. Plasma 5-HIAA, platelet 5-HT, and [3H] imipramine binding were measured. Unaffected relatives manifested lower platelet 5-HTT function than control participants as revealed both by reduced number and diminished affinity of imipramine binding sites and diminished platelet 5-HT content. These preliminary results suggest that reduced 5-HTT function could be considered a trait marker or an endophenotype in MDI.


M Leboyer, P Quintin, P Manivet, O Varoquaux, J F Allilaire, J M Launay. Decreased serotonin transporter binding in unaffected relatives of manic depressive patients. Biological psychiatry. 1999 Dec 15;46(12):1703-6

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PMID: 10624553

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