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MAOA genotype, family relations and sexual abuse in relation to adolescent alcohol consumption

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The aim of the present study was to investigate MAOA gene–environment (G*E) interactions in relation to adolescent alcohol consumption. In the county of Västmanland, Sweden, all 17–18-year-old students were asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire and provide a saliva sample during class hours. A total of 2263 students completed the questionnaire (77.4%) and a saliva sample was provided by 2131 participants. Failed MAOA u-variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) genotype analyses and internal non-responses left 851 boys and 735 girls (total n = 1586) to be investigated. Alcohol use disorder identification test was used to measure hazardous alcohol consumption. MAOA u-VNTR was used to measure biological risk in interaction with poor family relations and experience of sexual abuse. The model was also adjusted for non-independent socioeconomic variables, separated parents, type of housing and parental unemployment. Results showed that the MAOA u-VNTR, in interaction with psychosocial risk factors, such as the quality of family relations and sexual abuse, was related to high alcohol consumption among adolescents. Girls, carrying the long MAOA u-VNTR variant showed a higher risk of being high alcohol consumers, whereas among boys, the short allele was related to higher alcohol consumption. The present study supports the hypothesis that there is a relation between MAOA u-VNTR and alcohol consumption and that this relation is modulated by environmental factors. Furthermore, the present study also supports the hypothesis that there is a sex difference in the G*E interaction.

Keywords: Abuse; MAOA; adolescent; alcohol; environment; gene

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Centre for Clinical Research, Uppsala University, Central Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden 2: Department of Neuroscience, Unit of Pharmacology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: April 1, 2011


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