Therapygenetics: 5-HTTLPR genotype predicts the response to exposure therapy for agoraphobia

Inge Knuts*, Gabriel Esquivel, Gunter Kenis, Thea Overbeek, Nicole Leibold, Lies Goossens, Koen Schruers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study was intended to assess the extent to which the low-expression allele of the serotonin transporter gene promoter predicts better response to exposure-based behavior therapy in patients with panic disorder with agoraphobia (PDA). Ninety-nine patients with PDA underwent a 1-week in vivo exposure-based behavior therapy program and provided saliva samples to extract genomic DNA and classify individuals according to four allelic forms (S-A, S-G, L-A, L-G) of the 5-HTT-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR). We determined whether the 5-HTTLPR genotype predicted change in avoidance behavior in PDA following treatment. After controlling for pre-treatment avoidance behavior, the 5-HTTLPR low-expression genotypes showed a more favorable response to exposure therapy two weeks following treatment, compared to the other patients. This study suggests a genetic contribution to treatment outcome following behavior therapy and implicates the serotonergic system in response to exposure-based treatments in PDA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1222-1228
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


  • Behavior therapy
  • Exposure therapy
  • Genetics
  • Panic disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Serotonin

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