Pharmacogenetic study of serotonin transporter and 5HT2A genotypes in autism

Fedra Najjar, Thomas Owley, Matthew W. Mosconi, Suma Jacob, Kwan Hur, Stephen J. Guter, John A. Sweeney, Robert D. Gibbons, Edwin H. Cook, Jeffrey R. Bishop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether polymorphisms in the serotonin transporter (SLC6A4) and serotonin-2A receptor (HTR2A) genes are associated with response to escitalopram in patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Methods: Forty-four participants with ASD were enrolled in a 6 week, forced titration, open label examination of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) escitalopram. Doses increased at weekly intervals starting at 2.5mg daily with a maximum possible dose of 20mg daily achieved by the end of the study. If adverse events were experienced, participants subsequently received the previously tolerated dose for the duration of study. SLC6A4 (5-HTTLPR) and HTR2A (rs7997012) genotype groups were assessed in relation to treatment outcomes and drug doses. Results: Insistence on sameness and irritability symptoms significantly improved over the course of the 6 week treatment period (p<0.0001) in this open-label trial. There were no significant differences observed in the rate of symptom improvement over time across genotype groups. Similarly, dosing trajectory was not significantly associated with genotype groups. Conclusions: Previous studies have identified SLC6A4 and HTR2A associations with SSRI response in patients with depression and 5-HTTLPR (SLC6A4) associations with escitalopram response in ASD. We did not observe evidence for similar relationships in this ASD study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-474
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2015.


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