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Discovered: A gene 'linked to misery'

Scientists have discovered a gene which they claim is linked to misery. They claim to have identified the genetic variation in C-reactive protein gene that actually predisposes individuals to developing depressive symptoms.

world Updated: Jun 17, 2009 13:14 IST

Scientists have discovered a gene which they claim is linked to misery.

An international team, led by the Western Australian Centre for Health & Aging, has in fact identified the genetic variation in C-reactive protein gene that actually predisposes individuals to developing depressive symptoms.

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a ubiquitous protein that is an acute marker for physical ill health and is up-regulated in response to stressful events, including inflammation and infection.

For the study, the scientists recruited a cohort of community dwelling older men, aged 70 and above. Then they performed genotyping studies, measured CRP levels and assessed depression levels using a Geriatric Depression Scale, in an effort to understand the role of CRP in depression.

Prof Osvaldo Almeida, who led the team, said: "What we found in this particular piece of research was that the genetic variation in the CRP gene dampens the CRP response.

"In other words, it decreases your ability to fight off stressful events efficiently and this is associated with depressive symptoms. The link between CRP and depression gets more prominent the sicker the person gets."