Hair cortisol and its association with psychological risk factors for psychiatric disorders: a pilot study in adolescent twins

Rietschel, Liz, Streit, Fabian, Zhu, Gu, McAloney, Kerrie, Kirschbaum, Clemens, Frank, Josef, Hansell, Narelle K., Wright, Margaret J., McGrath, John J., Witt, Stephanie H., Rietschel, Marcella and Martin, Nicholas G. (2016) Hair cortisol and its association with psychological risk factors for psychiatric disorders: a pilot study in adolescent twins. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 19 5: 438-446. doi:10.1017/thg.2016.50


Author Rietschel, Liz
Streit, Fabian
Zhu, Gu
McAloney, Kerrie
Kirschbaum, Clemens
Frank, Josef
Hansell, Narelle K.
Wright, Margaret J.
McGrath, John J.
Witt, Stephanie H.
Rietschel, Marcella
Martin, Nicholas G.
Title Hair cortisol and its association with psychological risk factors for psychiatric disorders: a pilot study in adolescent twins
Journal name Twin Research and Human Genetics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1839-2628
1832-4274
Publication date 2016-10-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1017/thg.2016.50
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 19
Issue 5
Start page 438
End page 446
Total pages 9
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Measuring cortisol in hair is a promising method to assess long-term alterations of the biological stress response system, and hair cortisol concentrations (HCC) may be altered in psychiatric disorders and in subjects suffering from chronic stress. However, the pattern of associations between HCC, chronic stress and mental health require clarification. Our exploratory study: (1) assessed the association between HCC and perceived stress, symptoms of depression and neuroticism, and the trait extraversion (as a control variable); and (2) made use of the twin design to estimate the genetic and environmental covariance between the variables of interest. Hair samples from 109 (74 female) subjects (age range 12-21 years, mean 15.1) including 8 monozygotic (MZ) and 21 dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs were analyzed. Perceived stress was measured with the Perceived Stress Scale and/or the Daily Life and Stressors Scale, neuroticism, and extraversion with the NEO-Five Factor Inventory or the Junior Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, and depressive symptoms with the Somatic and Psychological Health Report. We found a modest positive association between HCC and the three risk factors - perceived stress, symptoms of depression, and neuroticism (r = 0.22-0.33) - but no correlation with extraversion (-0.06). A median split revealed that the associations between HCC and risk factors were stronger (0.47-0.60) in those subjects with HCC >11.36 pg/mg. Furthermore, our results suggest that the genetic effects underlying HCC are largely shared with those that influence perceived stress, depressive symptoms, and neuroticism. These results of our proof of principle study warrant replication in a bigger sample but raise the interesting question of the direction of causation between these variables.
Keyword Depression
Genetics
Hair cortisol
Neuroticism
Stress
Twin-study
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
Queensland Brain Institute Publications
 
Versions
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 0 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article
Scopus Citation Count Cited 0 times in Scopus Article
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Tue, 11 Oct 2016, 10:54:15 EST by System User on behalf of Learning and Research Services (UQ Library)