A considerable variability in the sensitivity to glucocorticoids (GCs) exists between individuals and these differences have been implicated in the etiology of psychiatric diseases such as depression. Glucocorticoid receptor (GR) gene polymorphisms might account in part for variability in GC responsiveness. We assessed the association between four common GR gene (NR3C1) polymorphisms (ER22/23EK, N363S, BclI, 9beta) and markers of glucocorticoid sensitivity in two target tissues (subdermal blood vessels, peripheral leukocytes) in 206 healthy individuals. The BclI GG genotype group showed the least degree of skin blanching, reflecting a lower GC sensitivity of subdermal blood vessels (p = .01). No association between GR genotype and GC sensitivity of peripheral leukocytes was observed. In the same subjects we previously observed an association between GR genotype and GC sensitivity of the pituitary. Polymorphism of the GR gene might constitute a vulnerability or protection factor for stress related disorders and altered GC sensitivity.

Glucocorticoid receptor gene polymorphisms, Glucocorticoid sensitivity, Hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, Stress
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2008.04.007, hdl.handle.net/1765/29743
Biological Psychology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Kumsta, R, Entringer, S, Koper, J.W, van Rossum, E.F.C, Hellhammer, D.H, & Wüst, S. (2008). Glucocorticoid receptor gene polymorphisms and glucocorticoid sensitivity of subdermal blood vessels and leukocytes. Biological Psychology, 79(2), 179–184. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2008.04.007