UCARE: Undergraduate Creative Activities & Research Experiences


UCARE Research Products

Date of this Version

Spring 4-20-2020

Document Type



Sisley, R.E., Stoltenberg, S.F., & Sullivan, G. A. (2020, April). No Association Between an Oxytocin Receptor Genetic Variant and Depressive Symptoms. Poster presentation, UCARE Research Fair, Spring 2020, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright 2020 by the authors.


• Depression has the greatest impact on daily functioning capability of all diseases and adversely effects individuals globally (Flint & Kendler, 2014). • Human capital value of these losses has been about $40 billion dollars annually (Kessler, 2012). • Analysis of the genetic and biological systems associated with depressive symptoms, such as the oxytocin system, could lead to identifying risk variants and possible treatment development. • Genetic Variation in OXTR is associated with a variation in depressive symptoms including low selfesteem, pessimism, and low self-efficacy, etc. (Conner et al., 2018). • The A allele of the SNP rs53576 is considered the risk allele as it’s associated with decreased pro-social behavior and increased loneliness and suicide attempts (Parris et. Al., 2018) • The exact mechanism has not been identified, but G/G homozygotes recorded to have higher oxytocin levels, associated with increased emotional responsiveness (Marsh et al., 2012; Tost et al., 2010) • We hypothesize that: (1) individuals possessing the A allele of the rs53576 SNP of OXTR will have more depressive symptoms on average. (2) Females will have more depressive symptoms on average. (3) There is an interaction between genotype and biological sex, as A allele females will have more depressive symptoms on average.