Association of CHRNA4 polymorphism with depression and loneliness in elderly males

S. J. Tsai*, H. L. Yeh, C. J. Hong, Y. J. Liou, A. C. Yang, M. E. Liu, J. P. Hwang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The cholinergic receptor, nicotinic, alpha 4 (CHRNA4) gene encodes the neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha-4 subunit. Recent research has shown that a variation in CHRNA4 (rs1044396) affects attention and negative emotionality in normal adults. To determine the link between CHRNA4 variation and cognitive function/depressed mood, this study conducted a genotype-phenotype correlation analysis between the common CHRNA4:rs1044396 variant and several baseline parameters of cognition and depressed mood in 192 elderly male subjects without major psychiatric disorders or dementia. Study findings identified a significant link between the CHRNA4:rs1044396 polymorphism and depression and loneliness in the aged. Compared to carriers of at least one T-allele, carriers of the homozygous C/C genotype described themselves as more depressed and lonely. This is the first evidence which may implicate CHRNA4 in depressed emotions in the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-234
Number of pages5
JournalGenes, Brain and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Aged
  • Attention
  • CHRNA4
  • Depression
  • Polymorphism


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