This study was funded by a grant from the Netherlands Science Organization (N.W.O.-MaGW) to Willem Van der Does (Vici Grant no. 453-005-06). Linda Booij was funded by a career award from the Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé.
The effects of MAOA genotype, childhood trauma, and sex on trait and state-dependent aggression
Article first published online: 5 OCT 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Brain and Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Brain and Behavior
Volume 2, Issue 6, pages 806–813, November 2012
How to Cite
Brain and Behavior 2012; 2(6): 806–813
- Issue published online: 9 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 5 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 3 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 11 JUL 2012
- Manuscript Received: 5 MAY 2012
- Netherlands Science Organization. Grant Number: 453-005-06
- Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé
- cognitive reactivity;
Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) genotypic variation has been associated with variation in aggression, especially in interaction with childhood trauma or other early adverse events. Male carriers of the low-expressing variant (MAOA-L) with childhood trauma or other early adverse events seem to be more aggressive, whereas female carriers with the high-expressing variant (MAOA-H) with childhood trauma or other early adverse events may be more aggressive. We further investigated the effects of MAOA genotype and its interaction with sex and childhood trauma or other early adverse events on aggression in a young adult sample. We hypothesized that the association between genotype, childhood trauma, and aggression would be different for men and women. We also explored whether this association is different for dispositional (trait) aggression versus aggression in the context of dysphoric mood. In all, 432 Western European students (332 women, 100 men; mean age 20.2) were genotyped for the MAOA gene. They completed measures of childhood trauma, state and trait measures of aggression-related behaviors (STAXI), and cognitive reactivity to sad mood (LEIDS-R), including aggression reactivity. Women with the MAOA-H had higher aggression reactivity scores than women with the MAOA-L. This effect was not observed in men, although the nonsignificant findings in men may be a result of low power. Effects on the STAXI were not observed, nor were there gene by environment interactions on any of the aggression measures. A protective effect of the low-expression variant in women on aggression reactivity is consistent with previous observations in adolescent girls. In females, the MAOA-H may predispose to aggression-related problems during sad mood.