The serotonin transporter 5-HTTLPR polymorphism in the association between sleep quality and affect

Jessica A. Hartmann*, Marieke Wichers, Alex L. van Bemmel, Catherine Derom, Evert Thiery, Nele Jacobs, Jim van Os, Claudia J. P. Simons

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A link between sleep and affect is well-known. Serotonin (5-HT) is associated with the regulation of affective as well as sleep-related processes. A functional polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) has been associated with serotonergic functioning. The present study investigated whether allelic variation of this gene moderates the association between nighttime subjective sleep quality and affect the following day. A population-based sample of 361 ethnically homogenous adult female twins underwent a five day protocol based on the experience sampling method (ESM), assessing momentary negative affect, positive affect, and subjective sleep quality repeatedly and prospectively. There was a significant interaction between sleep quality and genotype in predicting positive affect the next day: carriers of one (n=167) or two S-alleles (n=78) had a significantly steeper slope compared to LL carriers (n=116) (chi(2)=4.16, p=.042 and chi(2)=3.90, p=.048 respectively). The association between subjective sleep quality and positive affect the next day varied as a function of 5-HTTLPR: it was stronger in carriers of at least one copy of the S-allele compared to homozygous L-carriers, supporting a link between sleep and affect regulation, in which serotonin may play a role. However, these results are preliminary and require replication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1086-1090
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • 5-HTTLPR
  • Subjective sleep quality
  • Positive affect
  • Negative affect
  • Experience sampling method
  • Daily life

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