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Keywords:

  • Aggression;
  • alcohol;
  • alcoholism;
  • COMT;
  • genetics

Abstract

Aggression, violence and antisocial behavior are common in alcoholism, but their biological basis is poorly understood. Several studies and recent meta-analyses indicate that in schizophrenia the catecholamine-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met genotype may be associated with aggression, most often in methionine allele carriers. We tested this hypothesis in a sample of treatment-seeking alcohol-dependent in-patients (293 German patients and 499 controls, and additional 190 Polish patients as replication sample). As expected, patients with a history of violent or non-violent crime were more often male, had an earlier onset of alcoholism and more withdrawal seizures and delirium tremens, and were more likely to have a history of suicide attempts. COMT genotype was not associated with a history of violent or non-violent crime. More studies are needed on the neurobiological basis of aggression and violence in alcoholism.