Serotonin 2A receptors (HTR2A) play a crucial role in the therapeutic response to antidepressant. The activity of serotonergic system could modulate the connectivity of the default mode network (DMN) in human brain. Our research investigated the influence of the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of HTR2A on the early treatment response of antidepressant and their relation to dynamic changes of DMN for the first time.
A total of 134 major depressive disorder patients and 95 healthy controls from two independent datasets were enrolled. All subjects have genotyped candidate HTR2A polymorphisms, dynamic brain parameters flexibility and integration were calculated according to the resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) at baseline. Patients received selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) treatment with conventional dose in the next two weeks.
We found the correlation of the risk-associated variant belonged to HTR2A polymorphism rs3803189 with the achievements of antidepressant early response, and also with the stronger dynamic changes of DMN. Further mediation analysis indicated that the bond between rs3803189 and antidepressant early response was mediated by the integration between the right angular gyrus (AG.R) and the subcortical network (SCN), which were validated over both the main and replication datasets.
Except the AG.R-SCN circuit, other factors which influence the relationship between rs3803189 and antidepressant therapy deserve to be explored further. Besides, heterogeneity of samples limited the power of the current result.
Our findings provided a potential biomarker for individual treatment sensitivity and produced positive effects on revealing the complicated gene-brain-disorder relationship.

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