Polymorphism in the serotonin receptor 2a (HTR2A) gene as possible predisposal factor for aggressive traits.
ABSTRACT: Aggressive manifestations and their consequences are a major issue of mankind, highlighting the need for understanding the contributory factors. Still, aggression-related genetic analyses have so far mainly been conducted on small population subsets such as individuals suffering from a certain psychiatric disorder or a narrow-range age cohort, but no data on the general population is yet available. In the present study, our aim was to identify polymorphisms in genes affecting neurobiological processes that might explain some of the inter-individual variation between aggression levels in the non-clinical Caucasian adult population. 55 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) were simultaneously determined in 887 subjects who also filled out the self-report Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (BPAQ). Single marker association analyses between genotypes and aggression scores indicated a significant role of rs7322347 located in the HTR2A gene encoding serotonin receptor 2a following Bonferroni correction for multiple testing (p = 0.0007) both for males and females. Taking the four BPAQ subscales individually, scores for Hostility, Anger and Physical Aggression showed significant association with rs7322347 T allele in themselves, while no association was found with Verbal Aggression. Of the subscales, relationship with rs7322347 was strongest in the case of Hostility, where statistical significance virtually equaled that observed with the whole BPAQ. In conclusion, this is the first study to our knowledge analyzing SNPs in a wide variety of genes in terms of aggression in a large sample-size non-clinical adult population, also describing a novel candidate polymorphism as predisposal to aggressive traits.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The specific role of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene polymorphisms in emotional support seeking, related to social norms and culturally normative behavior, has been discussed in several studies. Evidence on the association between aggression and OXTR polymorphisms has also been reported. The goal of the current study was to analyze the effect of the OXTR rs53576 polymorphism, prenatal testosterone effect (second-to-fourth digit ratio, or 2D:4D), and culture on aggression assessed with the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (BPAQ). METHODS:The data were collected in Russia and Tanzania and included seven ethnic groups of European, Asian, and African origin. The total sample included 1705 adults (837 males, 868 females). All the subjects were evaluated with the BPAQ. As a measure of prenatal androgenization, the second and fourth digits were measured directly from hand, and the digit ratios were calculated. All the participants provided buccal samples, from which genomic DNA was extracted, and the OXTR gene rs53576 polymorphism was genotyped. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 23.0; the alpha level for all analyses was set at 0.05. RESULTS:The ethnic group factor was the most significant predictor of ratings on BPAQ (medium effect size for physical aggression, anger and hostility scales, and low for verbal aggression). To study the effect of sex, the OXTR polymorphism, and prenatal androgenization, we conducted the z-score transformation for BPAQ scales and 2D:4D for each ethnic group and pooled these data into new z-score variables. According to the GLM analysis after leveling the effects of culture (z-transformation), all four scales of BPAQ demonstrated association with sex (main effects), with men scoring higher on physical and verbal aggression and women scoring higher on anger and hostility. Anger and hostility scales were also associated with OXTR polymorphism and 2D:4D of the right hand. The lowest levels of anger and hostility were observed in individuals with the AA genotype, especially in men. CONCLUSIONS:Our data suggest that both oxytocin (OXTR gene polymorphism) and fetal testosterone (2D:4D) may significantly affect emotional (anger) and cognitive (hostility) aggression in humans, given the leveling the role of culture.
Project description:The goal of the current study is to clarify the relationship between social information processing (e.g., visual attention to cues of hostility, hostility attribution bias, and facial expression emotion labeling) and aggressive tendencies. Thirty adults were recruited in the eye-tracking study that measured various components in social information processing. Baseline aggressive tendencies were measured using the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (AQ). Visual attention towards hostile objects was measured as the proportion of eye gaze fixation duration on cues of hostility. Hostility attribution bias was measured with the rating results for emotions of characters in the images. The results show that the eye gaze duration on hostile characters was significantly inversely correlated with the AQ score and less eye contact with an angry face. The eye gaze duration on hostile object was not significantly associated with hostility attribution bias, although hostility attribution bias was significantly positively associated with the AQ score. Our findings suggest that eye gaze fixation time towards non-hostile cues may predict aggressive tendencies.
Project description:Hostility is a risk factor for cardiovascular events. When challenged, individuals high on hostility exhibit a hyperreactive psychophysiological response to stressors, thereby increasing risk for developing cardiovascular disease. However, low resting heart rate (HR) is associated with physical aggression and hostility in children, adolescents, and adults. Based on a community sample of 296 men (mean age?=?32.0), we (a) address whether aggression/hostility relates to physical health through relationships with cardiovascular levels at rest and in response to stressors, and (b) determine how relations between aggression and health are altered by including psychophysiological indices in statistical models. The Cook-Medley cynical/hostile attitudes and the Buss-Perry physical aggression and hostility measures assessed aggression. Health was assessed as systolic blood pressure (SBP), report of medical conditions, and a metabolic composite. Reactivity to stressors was assessed with HR, SBP, and diastolic blood pressure. Aggression was negatively related to both resting HR and reactivity. High resting HR and reactivity were, however, positively related to poor health. Thus, the relationship between aggression and HR and reactivity suppressed an overall relationship between high aggression/hostility and poor health. In the presence of covariates for socioeconomic status, race, health behaviors, and medications, the relationship between aggression and health was significantly strengthened when HR level and reactivity were included in models. In sum, at early midlife, low HR among aggressive and hostile individuals is related to less health risk. Aggression and hostility have a deleterious influence on health, but primarily among individuals with higher HR and possibly greater cardiovascular reactivity.
Project description:The main enzyme for serotonin degradation, monoamine oxidase (MAO) A, has recently emerged as a key biological factor in the predisposition to impulsive aggression. Male carriers of low-activity variants of the main functional polymorphism of the MAOA gene (MAOA-uVNTR) have been shown to exhibit a greater proclivity to engage in violent acts. Thus, we hypothesized that low-activity MAOA-uVNTR alleles may be associated with a higher risk for criminal violence among male offenders. To test this possibility, we analyzed the MAOA-uVNTR variants of violent (n = 49) and non-violent (n = 40) male Caucasian and African-American convicts in a correctional facility. All participants were also tested with the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), Barratt Impulsivity Scale (BIS-11) and Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (BPAQ) to assess their levels of childhood trauma exposure, impulsivity and aggression, respectively. Our results revealed a robust (P < 0.0001) association between low-activity MAOA-uVNTR alleles and violent crime. This association was replicated in the group of Caucasian violent offenders (P < 0.01), but reached only a marginal trend (P = 0.08) in their African American counterparts. While violent crime charges were not associated with CTQ, BIS-11 and BPAQ scores, carriers of low-activity alleles exhibited a mild, yet significant (P < 0.05) increase in BIS-11 total and attentional-impulsiveness scores. In summary, these findings support the role of MAOA gene as a prominent genetic determinant for criminal violence. Further studies are required to confirm these results in larger samples of inmates and evaluate potential interactions between MAOA alleles and environmental vulnerability factors.
Project description:Functional neuroimaging studies in adults show that aggression involves reduced brain communication between subcortical and cortical areas dedicated to motivation and control, respectively. Prior research indicates that sex steroid hormone production during adolescence negatively influences the rapid development of white matter connectivity between subcortical and cortical areas during adolescence and may potentiate aggression. Here, we tested this hypothesis in 258 participants between 8 and 25 years of age by using Diffusion Weighted Imaging to examine the microstructure of white matter connections within the fronto-temporal-subcortical network. Trait aggression was measured using the Buss Perry Aggression Questionnaire and testosterone and estradiol levels were measured in saliva. Results indicated that higher levels of testosterone were associated with less white matter integrity within the fronto-temporal-subcortical network (i.e., higher mean diffusivity [MD] longitudinal [LD], and radial diffusivity [RD]). Furthermore, lower fractional anisotropy and higher MD, LD, and RD values within this network increased expressive forms of aggression and reduced inhibited forms of aggression (hostility). Our study indicates higher levels of testosterone relating to lower quality of structural cortical-subcortical connectivity, arguably resulting in a shift from inhibited towards expressive forms of aggression. Our data adds evidence to the idea that aggressive tendencies are subcortically driven, but individuals with relatively high testosterone might have lower structural connectivity within cortical control areas, resulting in a stronger tendency to act on these aggressive tendencies.
Project description:Rationale: Given datasets with a large or diverse set of predictors of aggression, machine learning (ML) provides efficient tools for identifying the most salient variables and building a parsimonious statistical model. ML techniques permit efficient exploration of data, have not been widely used in aggression research, and may have utility for those seeking prediction of aggressive behavior. Objectives: The present study examined predictors of aggression and constructed an optimized model using ML techniques. Predictors were derived from a dataset that included demographic, psychometric and genetic predictors, specifically FK506 binding protein 5 (FKBP5) polymorphisms, which have been shown to alter response to threatening stimuli, but have not been tested as predictors of aggressive behavior in adults. Methods: The data analysis approach utilized component-wise gradient boosting and model reduction via backward elimination to: (a) select variables from an initial set of 20 to build a model of trait aggression; and then (b) reduce that model to maximize parsimony and generalizability. Results: From a dataset of N = 47 participants, component-wise gradient boosting selected 8 of 20 possible predictors to model Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (BPAQ) total score, with R2 = 0.66. This model was simplified using backward elimination, retaining six predictors: smoking status, psychopathy (interpersonal manipulation and callous affect), childhood trauma (physical abuse and neglect), and the FKBP5_13 gene (rs1360780). The six-factor model approximated the initial eight-factor model at 99.4% of R2. Conclusions: Using an inductive data science approach, the gradient boosting model identified predictors consistent with previous experimental work in aggression; specifically psychopathy and trauma exposure. Additionally, allelic variants in FKBP5 were identified for the first time, but the relatively small sample size limits generality of results and calls for replication. This approach provides utility for the prediction of aggression behavior, particularly in the context of large multivariate datasets.
Project description:Aggressive disorders are moderately heritable; therefore, identification of genetic influences is important. The X-linked MAOA gene, encoding the MAOA enzyme, has a functional 30 bp repeat polymorphism in the promoter region (MAOA-LPR) that has been shown to influence aggression. Childhood trauma is a known risk factor for numerous psychopathologies in adulthood including aggressive behaviors. We investigated the interactive effect of MAOA-LPR genotype and a history of childhood trauma in predicting aggressive behaviors in a prisoner population. A total of 692 male prisoners were genotyped for MAOA-LPR with genotypes grouped into high and low transcriptional activity. Participant evaluations included measures of aggression (Brown-Goodwin Lifetime History of Aggression, BGHA), hostility (Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory), impulsivity (Barratt Impulsiveness Scale), violence directed toward self and others, and childhood trauma [Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ)]. MAOA-LPR interacted with CTQ physical neglect (PN), the most common (47%) form of childhood trauma in this sample, to predict BGHA aggression (P = 0.002). Within the group not exposed to PN, carriers of the MAOA-LPR high-activity variant were more aggressive: (tR = 2.47, P < 0.014). We observed a crossover effect in that the increase in aggression scores with PN was greater in low-activity individuals (tR?= 5.55, P < 0.0001) than in high-activity individuals (tR = 4.18, P < 0.0001). These findings suggest that childhood trauma and the functional MAOA-LPR polymorphism may interact to specifically increase risk for over aggressive behavior but not impulsivity or hostility. The MAOA-LPR low-activity variant may be protective against the development of aggressive behavior under low stress conditions, at least in this prisoner population.
Project description:The role of the serotonin transporter promoter-linked polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) in psychiatric disease remains unclear. Behavioral traits could serve as alternative outcomes that are stable, precede psychopathology, and capture more sub-clinical variation. We test associations between 5-HTTLPR and (1) behavioral traits and (2) clinical diagnoses of anxiety and depression. Second and third generation participants (N=203, 34.2±13.8 years, 54% female) at high- or low- familial risk for depression (where risk was defined by the presence of major depression in the 1st generation) were assessed longitudinally using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia-lifetime interview, Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11, Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire, and the NEO-Five Factor Inventory. High (but not low)-risk offspring with two risk (short, s) alleles had higher impulsivity (+13%), hostility (+31%) and neuroticism (+23%). SS was associated higher rates of panic (OR=7.05 [2.44, 20.38], p=0.0003) and phobic (OR=2.68[1.04, 6.93], p=0.04), but not other disorders. Impulsivity accounted for 16% of associations between 5-HTTLPR and panic, and 52% of association between 5-HTTLPR and phobias. We show that 5-HTTLPR predicts higher impulsivity, hostility, and neuroticism, and that impulsivity could serve as a useful independent outcome or intermediary phenotype in genetic studies of anxiety.
Project description:The aim of this study was to analyse the relationships between polymorphisms in four candidate genes (AR, DAT1, DRD2, and COMT) and aggression in men from a traditional society of East African pastoralists, the Datoga. Buss and Perry's Aggression Questionnaire was used to measure aggression. The number of CAG repeats in the AR gene was negatively correlated with physical aggression, anger, and hostility. Among the genes of the dopaminergic system, a significant single-gene effect was detected only for DRD2 with regard to anger. At the level of a two-gene model, a significant effect for DRD2 and a tendency for DAT1 were observed for the DAT1-DRD2 gene pair regarding hostility, and two tendencies were observed for the interaction effect of the DAT1-COMT pair regarding anger and hostility. These data suggest a probable link between physical aggression and direct fitness caused by strong sexual selection in Datoga men.
Project description:Aggression in schizophrenia is a major societal issue, leading to physical harm, stigmatization, patient distress, and higher health care costs. Impulsivity is associated with aggression in schizophrenia, but it is multidetermined. The subconstruct of urgency is likely to play an important role in this aggression, with positive urgency referring to rash action in the context of positive emotion, and negative urgency referring to rash action in the context of negative emotion.The authors examined urgency and its neural correlates in 33 patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and 31 healthy comparison subjects. Urgency was measured using the Urgency, Premeditation, Perseverance, and Sensation-Seeking scale. Aggressive attitudes were measured using the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire.Positive urgency, negative urgency, and aggressive attitudes were significantly and selectively elevated in schizophrenia patients (Cohen's d values, 1.21-1.50). Positive and negative urgency significantly correlated with the Aggression Questionnaire total score (r>0.48 in all cases) and each uniquely accounted for a significant portion of the variance in aggression over and above the effect of group. Urgency scores correlated with reduced cortical thickness in ventral prefrontal regions including the right frontal pole, the medial and lateral orbitofrontal gyrus and inferior frontal gyri, and the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. In patients, reduced resting-state functional connectivity in some of these regions was associated with higher urgency.These findings highlight the key role of urgency in aggressive attitudes in people with schizophrenia and suggest neural substrates of these behaviors. The results also suggest behavioral and neural targets for interventions to remediate urgency and aggression.