Steroid 21-hydroxylase gene variants and late-life depression

Marie Laure Ancelin, Joanna Norton, Karen Ritchie, Isabelle Chaudieu, Joanne Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalComment / DebateOtherpeer-review


Objectives: A feature of late-life depression is alterations of the stress hormone system. The CYP21A2 gene encodes for the steroid 21-hydroxylase enzyme which is required for the biosynthesis of mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids, two main components of the stress response in humans. Variants in the CYP21A2 gene could influence risk of late-life depression, but this has not been examined. This study investigated possible associations between five variants in the CYP21A2 gene and late-life depression in 1007 older community-dwelling men and women. Results: In multivariate logistic regression model, significant associations were found between three single-nucleotide polymorphisms (rs389883, rs437179, and rs630379) and depression in women specifically (OR ranging from 1.51 to 1.68, p-values 0.025 to 0.0045), and the two latter remained significant after correction for multiple testing. Variants of the CYP21A2 gene appear as susceptibility factors for late-life depression in a sex-specific manner, independently of somatic and neuropsychiatric comorbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number203
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Corticosteroids
  • Late-life depression
  • Older adults
  • Population-based study
  • Single-nucleotide polymorphisms
  • Stress

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