Interaction between FKBP5 variability and recent life events in the anxiety spectrum: Evidence for the differential susceptibility model

Beatriz Pérez-Pérez, Paula Cristóbal-Narváez, Tamara Sheinbaum, Thomas R. Kwapil, Sergi Ballespí, Elionora Peña, Marta De Castro-Catala, Maria Dolors Riba, Araceli Rosa, Neus Barrantes-Vidal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 Pérez-Pérez et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Background Gene-environment interaction (GxE) research has highlighted the importance of investigating the FK506 binding protein 51 (FKBP5) gene as a sensitivity gene. However, previous GxE studies with FKBP5 have not measured the full environmental spectrum or applied statistical tests to discern whether the GxE interaction fits better with the differential-susceptibility or diathesis-stress hypotheses. This study examined whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on FKBP5 gene moderate the association of positive and negative recent life events (LEs) with depressive symptoms, state-anxiety, neuroticism, and social anxiety traits. Methods A total of 86 nonclinical young adults were administered psychological measures and were genotyped for five FKBP5 SNPs (rs3800373, rs9296158, rs1360780, rs9470080 and rs4713916). Results Regression analyses indicated significant GxE interactions for social anxiety and neuroticism. The interactions predicting neuroticism fit different models for different SNPs, although the overall effect indicated by the haplotype was consistent with the differential-susceptibility hypothesis: the risk-haplotype group presented higher neuroticism in the presence of more negative LEs and lower neuroticism in the presence of more positive LEs. The GxE interactions for social anxiety were consistent with the diathesis-stress model. The lack of significance in the for-better side for social anxiety might be related to the fact that it mapped onto low extraversion, which is associated with a lower permeability to positive experiences. Discussion Findings underscore the importance of testing the differential-susceptibility model in relation to FKBP5 to adequately characterize its role in healthy and pathological developmental processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0193044
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


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