Delirium is the most common neuropsychiatric syndrome in elderly ill patients. Previously, associations between delirium and the dopamine transporter gene (solute carrier family 6, member 3 (SLC6A3)) and dopamine receptor 2 gene (DRD2) were found. The aim of this study was to validate whether markers of the SLC6A3 and DRD2 genes are were associated with delirium in independent populations. Six European populations collected DNA of older delirious patients. Associations were determined per population and results were combined in a meta-analysis. In total 820 medical inpatients, 185 cardiac surgery patients, 134 non-cardiac surgery patients and 502 population-based elderly subjects were included. Mean age was 82 years (SD 7.5 years), 598 (36%) were male, 665 (41%) had pre-existing cognitive impairment, and 558 (34%) experienced delirium. The SLC6A3 rs393795 homozygous AA genotype was more frequent in patients without delirium in all populations. The meta-analysis showed an Odds Ratio (OR) for delirium of 0.4 (95% confidence interval (C.I.) 0.2-0.6, P=0.0003) for subjects with AA genotype compared to the AG and GG genotypes. SLC6A3 marker rs1042098 showed no association with delirium. In meta-analysis the DRD2 rs6276 homozygous GG genotype showed an OR of 0.8 for delirium (95% C.I. 0.6-1.1, P=0.24). When subjects were stratified for cognitive status the rs6276 GG genotype showed ORs of 0.6 (95% C.I. 0.4-1.0, P=0.06) and 0.8 (95% C.I. 0.5-1.5, P=0.51) for delirium in patients with and without cognitive impairment, respectively. In independent cohorts, a variation in the SLC6A3 gene and possibly the DRD2 gene were found to protect for delirium.

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American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Munster, B., de Rooij, S., Yazdanpanah, M., Tienari, P., Pitkälä, K., Osse, R. J., … Korevaar, J. (2010). The association of the dopamine transporter gene and the dopamine receptor 2 gene with delirium, a meta-analysis. American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 153(2), 648–655. doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.31034