Effects of Genotype and Sleep on Temperament Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Sleep problems are frequent in young children; however, children vary in the degree to which they are affected by poor sleep quality. We investigated whether a polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene, which is linked to emotional function, is a potential moderator of the influences of sleep duration on infant temperament using longitudinal data. METHODS: We examined the interactive effects of average sleep duration between 6 and 36 months of age and the 5-HTTLPR genotype on negative emotionality/behavioral dysregulation at 36 months in 209 children recruited into a longitudinal birth cohort study. Triallelic genotyping of 5-HTTLPR was performed by looking at SLC6A4 genotype, focusing on the serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) including the SNP polymorphism (rs23351). Child sleep habits were assessed with a maternal self-report questionnaire. RESULTS: After controlling for demographics and both previous and concurrent maternal depression, multiple linear regression analyses revealed a significant interaction effect of average sleep duration for the first 3 years of life and 5-HTTLPR genotype on child negative emotionality/behavioral dysregulation such that the effects were exclusive to those with low-expressing 5-HTTLPR genotypes. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest differential susceptibility to the effect of sleep duration early in life, which reiterates that the short allele of the 5-HTTLPR represents a marker of increased environmental sensitivity regarding emotional development. Differential susceptibility theory posits that certain factors may increase an individual's susceptibility to the environment, in either a positive or negative fashion.

authors

  • Bouvette-Turcot, A-A
  • Pluess, M
  • Bernier, A
  • Pennestri, M-H
  • Levitan, R
  • Sokolowski, MB
  • Kennedy, JL
  • Minde, K
  • Steiner, Meir
  • Pokhvisneva, I
  • Meaney, MJ
  • Gaudreau, H

publication date

  • October 1, 2015