Serotonin Transporter Gene Status and Electroconvulsive Therapy Outcomes: A Retrospective Analysis of 83 Patients

Background: The length of the promoter polymorphism of the serotonin transporter gene has been shown to have an impact on response to some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants. Carrier status for the long allele has been associated with a better response to serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant medications in most studies.

Method: We retrospectively studied whether the allelic state was also associated with differential response to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Eighty-three ECT patients treated for unipolar or bipolar depression (based upon the treating psychiatrist's DSM-IV diagnosis) between July 2006 and September 2007 had allelic status testing at our facility. We determined whether serotonin transporter gene allelic status was associated with several aspects of ECT treatment, such as seizure length/threshold, number of treatments in a series, and depression scale ratings.

Results: We found no significant associations.

Conclusion: We conclude that currently available serotonin transporter gene long/short promoter polymorphism allelic status determination should not be used to guide clinical decisions about ECT.

J Clin Psychiatry 2009;70(1):92-94