A single nucleotide variant within the promoter of the 5-hydroxytryptamine1A (5HT1A) receptor, rs6295, is part of a binding site for the transcription factor NUDR (nuclear-DEAF-1-related). We aimed to ascertain whether the rs6295 mediates the effect of exercise on depressive mood in elderly endurance athletes. We prospectively enrolled 55 elderly athletes (marathon runners/bicyclists) and 58 controls. In a controlled, univariate model, an interaction between the [C]-allele and physical activity indicated that only among athletes, the variant resulting in an imperfect NUDR binding site was associated with a lower depression score. Hence, athletes presented with a significantly lower relative risk of achieving a suspicious depression score among carriers of at least one [C]-allele. Our results suggest that the positive effect of physical exercise on depressive mood might be mediated by the 5HT1A receptor and the extent of this protective effect seems to be enhanced by the [C]-allele of the rs6295 variant.
Helmuth Haslacher, Matthias Michlmayr, Thomas Perkmann, and Oswald F. Wagner are with the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. Delgerdalai Batmyagmar is with the Department of Public Health, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. Elisabeth Ponocny-Seliger is with Empirical Research, Vienna, Austria. Vanessa Scheichenberger is with the Day Clinic of Psychosomatic Medicine, Department of Child and Adolescent Medicine, General Hospital of Vienna, Austria. Thomas M. Scherzer, Sonja Nistler, and Robert Winker are with the Health and Prevention Center, Sanatorium Hera, Vienna, Austria. Alexander Pilger is with the Division of Occupational Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Austria. Peter Dal-Bianco and Johann Lehrner are with the Department of Neurology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. Lukas Pezawas is with the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.