Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya • ISSN 2075-7999
peer-reviewed • open access journal


Egorova M.S., Chertkova Yu.D. MAOA polymorphism and variation in psychological traits

Full text in Russian: Егорова М.С., Черткова Ю.Д. Полиморфизм гена моноаминооксидазы (МАОА) и вариативность психологических черт
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia

About authors
Suggested citation

Molecular genetic studies have indicated that genetic polymorphisms (multiple allelism) determine individual differences in pathology and as well as variation of normal psychological traits. Herein, we examine the association between psychological traits and monoamine oxidase A gene coding for MAOA enzyme involved in the breakdown of monamines. Three directions in research are discussed: (1) direct association between MAOA genotypes and psychological traits (antisocial behavior, anxiety, depression, personality), (2) genotype-environment interaction (association between MAOA genotype and psychological traits in the presence of environmental hazards), (3) the effect of combination of genes – association between a number of polymorphisms and psychological traits.

Keywords: monoamine oxidase A gene, genotype-environment interaction, antisocial behavior, personality traits


The study was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project 11-06-00271.

Cyrillic letters are transliterated according to BSI standards.

Alfimova M.V., Golimbet V.E., Egorova M.S. Lichnostnye cherty, upravlyayushchie funktsii i geneticheskie osobennosti metabolizma monoaminov // Psikhologiya. Zhurnal Vysshei shkoly ekonomiki. 2009. T. 6, N 4. S. 24–41. [in Russian]

Allen B. An analysis of the impact of diverse forms of childhood psychological maltreatment on emotional adjustment in early adulthood // Child Maltreatment. 2008. Vol. 13. P. 307–312.

Beach S.R.H., Brody G.H., Gunter T.D., Packer H., Wernett P., Philibert R.A. Child maltreatment moderates the association of MAOA with symptoms of depression and antisocial personality disorder // Journal of Family Psychology. 2010. Vol. 24. P. 12–20.

Brunner H.G., Nelen M., Breakefield X.O., Ropers H.H., van Oost B.A. Abnormal behavior associated with a point mutation in the structural gene for monoamine oxidase A // Science. 1993. Vol. 262. P. 578–580.

Buckholtz J.W., Callicott J.H., Kolachana B., Hariri A.R., Goldberg T.E., Genderson M. Genetic variation in MAOA modulates ventromedial prefrontal circuitry mediating individual differences in human personality // Molecular Psychiatry. 2008. Vol. 13. P. 313–324.

Buckholtz J.W., Meyer-Lindenberg A. MAOA and the neurogenetic architecture of human aggression // Trends in Neuroscience. 2008. Vol. 31. P. 120–129.

Cadore R.J., Yates W.R., Troughton E., Woodworth G., Stewart M.A. Genetic-environmental interaction in the genesis of aggressivity and conduct disorders // Archives of General Psychiatry. 1995. Vol. 52. P. 916–924.

Cadoret R.J., Yates W.R., Troughton E. Adoption study demonstrating two genetic pathways in drug abuse // Archives of General Psychiatry. 1995. Vol. 2. P. 42-45.

Canli Т., Ferria J., Duman E.A. Review. Genetics of emotion regulation // Neuroscience. 2009. Vol. 164. P. 43–54.

Carter J.V., Schulsinger F., Parnas J. A multivariate predictive model of Schizophrenia // Schizophrenia Bulletin. 2002. Vol. 28. P. 649-682.

Caspi A., McClay J., Moffitt T.E., Mill J., Martin J., Craig I.W., Taylor A., Poulton R. Role of genotype in the cycle of violence in maltreated children // Science. 2002. Vol. 297(5582). P. 851–854.

Cicchetti D., Rogosch F.A., Sturge-Apple M.L. Interactions of child maltreatment and serotonin transporter and monoamine oxidase A polymorphisms: Depressive symptomatology among adolescents from low socioeconomic status backgrounds // Development and Psychopathology. 2007. Vol. 19. P. 1161–1180.

Comijs H.C., Beekman A.T.F., Smit F., Bremmer M., Van Tilburg T.G., Deeg D.J.H. Childhood adversity, recent life events and depression in late life // Journal of Affective Disorders. 2007. Vol. 103(1/3). P. 243-246.

DeLisi M., Piquero A.R. New frontiers in criminal careers research, 2000–2011: A state-of-the-art review // Journal of Criminal Justice. 2011. Vol. 39. P. 289–301.

Denney R.M., Koch H., Craig I.W. Association between monoamine oxidase A activity in human male skin fibroblasts and genotype of the MAOA promoter-associated variable number tandem repeat // Human Genetics. 1999. Vol. 105. P. 542–551.

Doornbos B., Janneke Dijck-Brouwer D.A., Kema I.P., Tanke M.A.C., Van Goor S.A., Muskiet F.A.J., Korf J. The development of peripartum depressive symptoms is associated with gene polymorphisms of MAOA, 5-HTT and COMT // Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. 2009. Vol. 33(7). P. 1250-1254.

Ducci F., Enoch M.A., Hodgkinson C., Xu K., Catena M., Robin R.W., Goldman D. Interaction between a functional MAOA locus and childhood sexual abuse predicts alcoholism and antisocial personality disorder in adult women // Molecular Psychiatry. 2007. Vol. 13. P. 334–347.

Egorova M.S., Parshikova O.V., Pyankova S.D. Variativnost' regulyatornykh kharakteristik i polimorfizm MAOA. 2012. (in Press) [in Russian]

Eley T.C., Sugden K., Corsico A. Gene-environment interaction analysis of serotonin system markers with adolescent depression // Molecular Psychiatry. 2004. Vol. 9. P. 908–915.

Ferguson C.J., Beaver K.M. Natural born killers: The genetic origins of extreme violence // Aggression and Violent Behavior. 2009. Vol. 14. P. 286–294.

Ferguson C.J. Genetic contributions to antisocial personality and behavior: A meta-analytic review from an evolutionary perspective // The Journal of Social Psychology. 2010. Vol. 150. P. 160−180.

Foley D.L., Eaves L.J., Wormley B., Silberg J.L., Maes H.H., Kuhn J., Riley B. Childhood adversity, monoamine oxidase A genotype, and risk for conduct Disorder // Archives of General Psychiatry. 2004. Vol. 61. P. 738–744.

Guo G., Ou X.-M., Roettger M., Shih J.C. The VNTR 2 repeat in MAOA and delinquent behavior in adolescence and young adulthood: Associations and MAOA promoter activity // European Journal of Human Genetics. 2008. Vol. 16. P. 626–634.

Hakamata Y., Takahashi N., Ishihara R., Saito S., Ozaki N., Honjo S., Ono Y., Inada T. No association between monoamine oxidase A promoter polymorphism and personality traits in Japanese females // Neuroscience Letters. 2005. Vol. 389. P. 121–123.

Horwitz A.V., Widom C.S., McLaughlin J., White H.R. The impact of early childhood abuse and neglect on adult mental health: A prospective study // Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 2001. Vol. 42. P. 184–201.

Huang Y.Y., Cate S.P., Battistuzzi C., Oquendo M.A., Brent D., Mann J.J. An association between a functional polymorphism in the monoamine oxidase a gene promoter, impulsive traits and early abuse experiences // Neuropsychopharmacology. 2004. Vol. 29. P. 1498–1505.

Huizinga D., Haberstick B.C., Smolen A., Menard S., Young S.E., Corley R.P., Stallings M.C., Grotpeter J., Hewitt J.K. Childhood Maltreatment, Subsequent Antisocial Behavior, and the Role of Monoamine Oxidase A Genotype // Biological Psychiatry. 2006. Vol. 60(7). P. 677–683.

Keltikangas-Jarvinen L., Salo J. Dopamine and serotonin systems modify environmental effects on human behavior: A review // Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. 2009. Vol. 50. P. 574–582.

Kendler K.S., Bulik C.M., Silberg J., Hettema J.M., Myers J., Prescott C.A. Childhood sexual abuse and adult psychiatric and substance use disorders in women: An epidemiological and cotwin control analysis // Archives of General Psychiatry. 2000. Vol. 57. P. 953–959.

Kim S.J., Kim Y.S., Kim S.Y., Lee H.S., Kim C.H. An association study of catechol- methyltransferase and monoamine oxidase A polymorphisms and personality traits in Koreans // Neuroscience Letters. 2006. Vol. 401. P. 154–158.

Kim-Cohen J., Caspi A., Taylor A., Williams B., Newcombe R., Craig I.W., Moffit T.E. MAOA, maltreatment, and gene-environment interaction predicting children’s mental health: New evidence and a meta-analysis // Molecular Psychiatry. 2006. Vol. 11. P. 903–913.

McGowan P.O., Sasaki A., D'Alessio A.C., Dymov S., Labonté B., Szyf M., Turecki G., Meaney M.J. Epigenetic regulation of the glucocorticoid receptor in human brain associates with childhood abuse // Neuroscience. 2009. Vol. 12(3). P. 342–348.

Moffitt T.E. The new look of behavioral genetics in developmental psychopathology: Gene-environment interplay in antisocial behaviors // Psychological Bulletin. 2005. Vol. 131(4). P. 533–554.

Nikulina V., Widom C.S., Brzustowicz L.M. Child abuse and neglect, MAOA, and mental health outcomes: A prospective examination // Biological Psychiatry. 2011.

Nilsson K., Sjöberg R.L., Damberg M., Leppert J., Öhrvik J., Alm P.O., Lindström L., Oreland L. Role of monoamine oxidase A genotype and psychosocial factors in male adolescent criminal activity // Biological Psychiatry. 2006. Vol. 59(2). P. 121–127.

Olsson C.A., Foley D.L., Parkinson-Bates M., Byrnes G., McKenzie M., Patton G.C., Morley R., Anney R.J.L., Craig J.M., Saffery R. Prospects for epigenetic research within cohort studies of psychological disorder: A pilot investigation of a peripheral cell marker of epigenetic risk for depression // Biological Psychology. 2010. Vol. 83(2). P. 159–165.

Reif A., Rosler M., Freitag C.M., Schneider M., Eujen A., Kissling C., Wenzler D., Jacob C.P., Retz-Junginger P., Thome J., Lesch K.P., Retz W. Nature and nurture predispose to violent behavior: Serotonergic genes and adverse childhood environment // Neuropsychopharmacology. 2007. Vol. 32. P. 2375–2383.

Rhee S.H., Waldman I.D. Genetic and environmental influences on antisocial behavior: A meta-analysis of twin and adoption studies // Psychological Bulletin. 2002. Vol. 128. P. 490–529.

Rutter M. Genes and Behavior. nature-nuture interplay explained. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006.

Sabol S.Z., Hu S., Hamer D. A functional polymorphism in the monoamine oxidase A gene promoter // Human Genetics. 1998. Vol. 103. P. 273–279.

Samochowiec J., Syrek S., Michal P., Ryzewska-Wodecka A., Samochowiec A., Horodnicki J., Zakrzewska M., Kucharska-Mazur J. Polymorphisms in the serotonin transporter and monoamine oxidase A genes and their relationship to personality traits measured by the Temperament and Character Inventory and NEO Five-Factor Inventory in healthy volunteers // Neuropsychobiology. 2004. Vol. 50. P. 174–181.

Sartor C.E., Agrawal A., McCutcheon V.V., Duncan A.E., Lynskey M.T. Disentangling the complex association between childhood sexual abuse and alcohol-related problems: A review of methodological issues and approaches // Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 2008. Vol. 69. P. 718–727.

Shiraishi H., Suzuki A., Fukasawa T., Aoshima T., Ujiie Y., Ishii G., Otani K. Monoamine oxidase A gene promoter polymorphism affects novelty seeking and reward dependence in healthy study participants // Psychiatric Genetics. 2006. Vol. 16. P. 55–58.

Sjoberg R.L., Nilsson K.W., Wargelius H.L., Leppert J., Lindstrom L., Oreland L. Adolescent girls and criminal activity: Role of MAOA-LPR genotype and psychosocial factors // American journal of medical genetics. Part B: Neuropsychiatric genetics. 2007. Vol. 144B(2). P. 159–164.

Taylor A., Kim-Cohen J. Meta-analysis of gene-environment interactions in developmental psychopathology // Development and Psychopathology. 2007. Vol. 19. P. 1029–1037.

Tochigi M., Otowa T., Hibino H., Kato C., Otani T., Umekage T., Utsumi T., Kato N., Sasaki T. Combined analysis of association between personality traits and three functional polymorphisms in the tyrosine hydroxylase, monoamine oxidase A, and catechol-O-methyltransferase Genes // Neuroscience Research. 2006. Vol. 54. P. 180–185.

Tsuchimine S., Yasui-Furukori N., Kaneda A., Saito M., Nakagami T., Sato K., Kaneko S. Association between monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) and personality traits in Japanese individuals // Progress in neuro-psychopharmacology and biological psychiatry. 2008. Vol. 32. P. 1932–1935.

Van Gestel S., Van Broeckhoven C. Genetics of personality: are we making progress? // Molecular Psychiatry. 2003. Vol. 8. P. 840–852.

Vaughn M.G., DeLisi M., Beaver K.M., Wright J.P. DAT1 and 5HTT are associated with pathological criminal behavior in a nationally representative sample of youth // Criminal Justice and Behavior. 2009a. Vol. 36. P. 1103–1114.

Vaughn M.G., DeLisi M., Beaver K.M., Wright J.P. Identifying latent classes of behavioral risk based on early childhood manifestations of self-control // Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice. 2009b. Vol. 7. P. 16–31.

Weder N., Yang B.Z., Douglas-Palumberi H., Massey J., Krystal J.H., Gelernter J., Kaufman J. MAOA genotype, maltreatment, and aggressive behavior: The changing impact of genotype at varying levels of trauma // Biological Psychiatry. 2009. Vol. 65(5). P. 417–424.

Widom K.S., Brzustowicz L.M. MAOA and the “cycle of violence:” Childhood abuse and neglect, MAOA genotype, and risk for violent and antisocial behavior // Biological Psychiatry. 2006. Vol. 60(7). P. 684–689.

Williams L.M., Gatt J.M., Kuan S.A., Dobson-Stone C., Palmer D.M., Paul R.H., Song L., Costa P.T., Schofield P.R., Gordon E. A polymorphism of the MAOA gene is associated with emotional brain markers and personality traits on an antisocial index // Neuropsychopharmacology. 2009. Vol. 34. P. 1797–1809.

Yang M., Kavi V., Wang W., Wu Z., Hao W. The association of 5-HTR2A-1438A/G, COMTVal158Met, MAOA-LPR, DATVNTR and 5-HTTVNTR gene polymorphisms and antisocial personality disorder in male heroin-dependent Chinese subjects // Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. 2011.

Young S.E., Smolen A., Hewitt J.K., Haberstick B.C., Stallings M.C., Corley R.P., Crowley T.J. Interaction between MAO-A genotype and maltreatment in the risk for conduct disorder: Failure to confirm in adolescent patients // American Journal of Psychiatry. 2006. Vol. 163. P. 1019–1025.

Yu Y.W., Yang C.W., Wu H.C., Tsai S.J., Hong C.J., Chen M.C., Chen T.J. Association study of a functional MAOA-uVNTR gene polymorphism and personality traits in Chinese young females // Neuropsychobiology. 2005. Vol. 52. P. 118–121.

Received 30 June 2011. Date of publication: 31 December 2011.

About authors

Egorova Marina S. Ph.D., Professor, Corresponding Member, Russian Academy of Education; Head, Department of Behavioral Genetics, Faculty of Psychology, The Lomonosov Moscow State University, ul. Mokhovaya 11, str. 9, 125009 Moscow, Russia.
E-mail: Этот адрес электронной почты защищен от спам-ботов. У вас должен быть включен JavaScript для просмотра.

Chertkova Yulia D. Ph., Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioral Genetics, Faculty of Psychology, The Lomonosov Moscow State University, ul. Mokhovaya, 11, str. 9, 125009 Moscow, Russia.
E-mail: Этот адрес электронной почты защищен от спам-ботов. У вас должен быть включен JavaScript для просмотра.

Suggested citation

Egorova M.S., Chertkova Yu.D. MAOA polymorphism and variation in psychological traits. Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya, 2011, No. 6(20), p. 14. Retrieved from 0421100116/0073. [in Russian, abstr. in English].

Back to top >>

Related Articles