Monoamine oxidase A regulates antisocial personality in whites with no history of physical abuse

Irving M. Reti, Jerry Z. Xu, Jason Yanofski, Jodi McKibben, Magdalena Uhart, Yu Jen Cheng, Peter Zandi, Oscar J. Bienvenu, Jack Samuels, Virginia Willour, Laura Kasch-Semenza, Paul Costa, Karen Bandeen-Roche, William W. Eaton, Gerald Nestadt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: Preclinical and human family studies clearly link monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) to aggression and antisocial personality (ASP). The 30-base pair variable number tandem repeat in the MAOA promoter regulates MAOA levels, but its effects on ASP in humans are unclear. Methods: We evaluated the association of the variable number tandem repeat of the MAOA promoter with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, ASP disorder (ASPD) traits in a community sample of 435 participants from the Hopkins Epidemiology of Personality Disorders Study. Results: We did not find an association between the activity of the MAOA allele and ASPD traits; however, among whites, when subjects with a history of childhood physical abuse were excluded, the remaining subjects with low-activity alleles had ASPD trait counts that were 41% greater than those with high-activity alleles (P < .05). Conclusion: The high-activity MAOA allele is protective against ASP among whites with no history of physical abuse, lending support to a link between MAOA expression and antisocial behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-194
Number of pages7
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Volume52
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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