The role of epigenetics in depression and suicide: A platform for gene-environment interactions

Laura E. Lockwood, Shaoyong Su, Nagy A. Youssef

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Epigenetics involves functional modifications of genes. The aim of this paper is to explore if an association exists between epigenetics and depression and/or suicide. MedLine/PubMed searches were performed using both Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) and Non-MeSH terms. Based on pre-specified terms and inclusion criteria, sixteen studies met inclusion criteria by the 3 independent reviewers. Epigenetic changes seem to be important in both depression and suicide. All of the studies reviewed herein found significant epigenetic changes associated with depression and suicide except for two. Several studies showed that hypermethylation of BDNF is involved in suicide. TrkB hypermethylation was also shown to be associated with suicide by several studies, specifically in Brodmann's Areas (BA) 8 and 9. Future research is needed in a larger sample to further characterize these changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-242
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 30 2015


  • Depression
  • Epigenetics
  • Gene-environment interactions
  • Genes
  • Methylation of genes
  • Suicidality
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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