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Genome-Wide Association Study of Depressive Symptoms in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos


Dunn, Erin C.; Sofer, Tamar; Wang, Min-Jung; Soare, Thomas W.; Gallo, Linda C.; Gogarten, Stephanie M.; Kerr, Kathleen F.; Chen, Chia-Yen; Stein, Murray B.; & Ursano, Robert J., et al. (2017). Genome-Wide Association Study of Depressive Symptoms in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 99, 167-176. PMCID: PMC6192675


Although genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified several variants linked to depression, few GWAS of non-European populations have been performed. We conducted a genome-wide analysis of depression in a large, population-based sample of Hispanics/Latinos. Data came from 12,310 adults in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL). Past-week depressive symptoms were assessed using the 10-item Center for Epidemiological Studies of Depression Scale. Three phenotypes were examined: a total depression score, a total score modified to account for psychiatric medication use, and a score excluding anti-depressant medication users. We estimated heritability due to common variants (h(2)SNP), and performed a GWAS of the three phenotypes. Replication was attempted in three independent Hispanic/Latino cohorts. We also performed sex-stratified analyses, analyzed a binary trait indicating probable depression, and conducted three trans-ethnic analyses. The three phenotypes exhibited significant heritability (h(2)SNP=6.3-6.9%; p=.002) in the total sample. No SNPs were genome-wide significant in analyses of the three phenotypes or the binary indicator of probable depression. In sex-stratified analyses, seven genome-wide significant SNPs (one in females; six in males) were identified, though none were supported through replication. Four out of 24 loci identified in prior GWAS were nominally associated in HCHS/SOL. There was no evidence of overlap in genetic risk factors across ancestry groups, though this may have been due to low power. We conducted the largest GWAS of depression-related phenotypes in Hispanic/Latino adults. Results underscore the genetic complexity of depressive symptoms as a phenotype in this population and suggest the need for much larger samples.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Psychiatric Research


Dunn, Erin C.
Sofer, Tamar
Wang, Min-Jung
Soare, Thomas W.
Gallo, Linda C.
Gogarten, Stephanie M.
Kerr, Kathleen F.
Chen, Chia-Yen
Stein, Murray B.
Ursano, Robert J.
Guo, Xiuqing
Jia, Yucheng
Yao, Jie
Rotter, Jerome I.
Argos, Maria
Cai, Jianwen
Perreira, Krista M.
Major Depressive Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium,
Wassertheil-Smoller, Sylvia
Smoller, Jordan W.