Determining the Association of the 5HTTLPR Polymorphism with Delusions and Hallucinations in Lewy Body Dementias

Byron Creese, Clive Ballard, Dag Aarsland, Elisabet Londos, Sally Sharp, Emma Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To determine whether the 5HTTLPR serotonin transporter polymorphism is associated with delusions and hallucinations in people with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson disease dementia (PDD). Design: Prospective cohort study. Participants: A total of 187 individuals, recruited from centres in Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom were included in this study; 97 with clinically or neuropathologically diagnosed DLB/PDD and 90 cognitively normal individuals as a comparison group. Measurements: All participants with dementia underwent serial evaluation of neuropsychiatric symptoms to assess the presence of persistent delusions and hallucinations using the Columbia University Scale for Psychopathology in Alzheimer disease, the Neuropsychiatric Inventory, or the Present Behavioural Examination. Severity of cognitive impairment was measured using the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE). Individuals were genotyped for the 5HTTLPR polymorphism. Results: Logistic regression demonstrated that homozygosity for the L/L genotype and lower MMSE were associated with an increased risk for delusions (odds ratio: 11.5 and 1.16, respectively). Neither was significantly associated with hallucinations. Conclusions: This study is the first to demonstrate the 5HTTLPR polymorphism is associated with delusions in Lewy body dementias, with important implications regarding the mechanisms underlying this symptom across the AD/DLB/PDD spectrum. Further studies are warranted to investigate this relationship further and examine treatment opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580-586
JournalThe American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Neurology


  • SLC6A4
  • polymorphism
  • dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Parkinson
  • disease dementia
  • psychosis


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