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Open AccessArticle

FKBP5 Gene Expression Predicts Antidepressant Treatment Outcome in Depression

1
Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, 80804 Munich, Germany
2
kbo-Isar-Amper Clinical Center Munich East, 85540 Munich, Germany
3
HMNC Brain Health GmbH, 80807 Munich, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(3), 485; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20030485
Received: 9 December 2018 / Revised: 13 January 2019 / Accepted: 20 January 2019 / Published: 23 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Psychiatry)
Adverse experiences and chronic stress are well-known risk factors for the development of major depression, and an impaired stress response regulation is frequently observed in acute depression. Impaired glucocorticoid receptor (GR) signalling plays an important role in these alterations, and a restoration of GR signalling appears to be a prerequisite of successful antidepressant treatment. Variants in genes of the stress response regulation contribute to the vulnerability to depression in traumatized subjects. Consistent findings point to an important role of FKBP5, the gene expressing FK506-binding protein 51 (FKBP51), which is a strong inhibitor of the GR, and thus, an important regulator of the stress response. We investigated the role of FKBP5 and FKB51 expression with respect to stress response regulation and antidepressant treatment outcome in depressed patients. This study included 297 inpatients, who participated in the Munich Antidepressant Response Signature (MARS) project and were treated for acute depression. In this open-label study, patients received antidepressant treatment according to the attending doctor’s choice. In addition to the FKBP5 genotype, changes in blood FKBP51 expression during antidepressant treatment were analyzed using RT-PCR and ZeptoMARKTM reverse phase protein microarray (RPPM). Stress response regulation was evaluated in a subgroup of patients using the combined dexamethasone (dex)/corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) test. As expected, increased FKBP51 expression was associated with an impaired stress response regulation at baseline and after six weeks was accompanied by an elevated cortisol response to the combined dex/CRH test. Further, we demonstrated an active involvement of FKBP51 in antidepressant treatment outcome. While patients responding to antidepressant treatment had a pronounced reduction of FKBP5 gene and FKBP51 protein expression, increasing expression levels were observed in nonresponders. This effect was moderated by the genotype of the FKBP5 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1360780, with carriers of the minor allele showing the most pronounced association. Our findings demonstrate that FKBP5 and, specifically, its expression product FKBP51 are important modulators of antidepressant treatment outcome, pointing to a new, promising target for future antidepressant drug development. View Full-Text
Keywords: depression; antidepressant treatment; HPA axis; gene expression; FKBP5; FKBP51 depression; antidepressant treatment; HPA axis; gene expression; FKBP5; FKBP51
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ising, M.; Maccarrone, G.; Brückl, T.; Scheuer, S.; Hennings, J.; Holsboer, F.; Turck, C.W.; Uhr, M.; Lucae, S. FKBP5 Gene Expression Predicts Antidepressant Treatment Outcome in Depression. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 485.

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