MAOA-uVNTR polymorphism in a Brazilian sample: Further support for the association with impulsive behaviors and alcohol dependence

Authors

  • Verônica Contini,

    1. Department of Genetics, Institute of Biosciences, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
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  • Francine Z.C. Marques,

    1. Department of Genetics, Institute of Biosciences, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
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  • Carlos E.D. Garcia,

    1. Department of Genetics, Institute of Biosciences, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
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  • Mara H. Hutz,

    1. Department of Genetics, Institute of Biosciences, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
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  • Claiton H.D. Bau

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Genetics, Institute of Biosciences, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
    • Departamento de Genética, Instituto de Biociências, UFRGS, Caixa Postal 15053, 91501-970 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.
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Abstract

The enzyme monoamine oxidase A (MAO A) plays an important role in the metabolism of neurotransmitters. The MAOA gene presents several polymorphisms, including a 30-bp VNTR in the promoter region (MAOA-uVNTR). Alleles with 3.5 and 4 repeats are 2–10 times more efficient than the 3-repeat allele. Several studies have shown an association between the 3-repeat allele and a cluster of externalizing behaviors including alcoholism, antisocial personality, and impulsivity. The objective of the present study is to replicate in a different culture the associations between the MAOA-uVNTR with alcoholism and other phenotypes. The sample comprises 125 Brazilian alcoholics of European descent and 235 controls. The results suggest that the 3-repeat allele is associated to: (1) alcohol dependence (P < 0.05); (2) an earlier onset of alcoholism (P < 0.01); (3) comorbid drug abuse among alcoholics (P < 0.05); and (4) a higher number of antisocial symptoms (P < 0.02). Our results confirmed previous reports showing an association of the low activity 3-repeat allele of MAOA-uVNTR polymorphism with substance dependence and impulsive/antisocial behaviors. These findings in a different culture further support the influence of the MAOA-uVNTR in psychiatric disorders. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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