Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene variant increases risk for alcoholism following childhood abuse

28.06.2007
Girls who suffered childhood sexual abuse are more likely to develop alcoholism later in life if they possess a particular variant of a gene involved in the body’s response to stress, according to a new study led by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The new finding could help explain why some individuals are more resilient to profound childhood trauma than others.

“With this study we see yet again that nature and nurture often work together, not independently, to influence our overall health and well-being,” says NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.

“This finding underscores the central role that gene-environment interactions play in the pathogenesis of complex diseases such as alcoholism,” adds NIAAA Director Ting-Kai Li, M.D. A report of the study appears in the June 26, 2007 advance online publication of Molecular Psychiatry.

Previous studies have shown that childhood sexual abuse increases the risk for numerous mental health problems in adulthood. However not all abused children develop such problems, a likely indication that genetic factors also play a role. Recent studies have linked the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene with adverse behavioral outcomes stemming from childhood mistreatment.

“MAOA is an enzyme that metabolizes various neurotransmitters that regulate the body’s response to stress,” explains first author Francesca Ducci, M.D., a visiting fellow in NIAAA’s Laboratory of Neurogenetics in Bethesda, Maryland. DNA variations occur within a regulatory area – the MAOA-linked polymorphic region (MAOA-LPR) -- of the MAOA gene. Two such MAOA-LPR variants occur most frequently and result in high or low MAOA enzyme activity. In a recent study, researchers found that maltreated boys who possessed the low activity MAOA-LPR variant were more likely to develop behavior problems than boys with the high activity variant.

“Our aim was to test whether this low activity variant influences the impact of childhood sexual abuse on alcoholism and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) in women,” says Dr. Ducci.

She and her colleagues analyzed DNA samples from a group of American Indian women living in a community in which rates of alcoholism and ASPD are about six times higher than the average rates among all U.S. women. Childhood sexual abuse is also prevalent in this population, reported by about half of the women in the community, compared with a U.S. average of 13 percent.

“The high rates of sexual abuse and alcoholism in this population make it particularly suitable for studying the interaction of genes and stressful environmental exposures,” explains senior author David Goldman, M.D., chief of the NIAAA Laboratory of Neurogenetics.

Analyses of MAOA-LPR genotypes in this study revealed that women who had been sexually abused in childhood were much more likely to develop alcoholism and antisocial behavior if they had the low activity variant whereas the high activity variant was protective. In contrast, there was no relationship between alcoholism, antisocial behavior and MAOA-LPR genotype among non-abused women.

“Our findings show that MAOA seems to moderate the impact of childhood trauma on adult psychopathology in females in the same way as previously shown among males,” says Dr. Ducci. “The MAOA-LPR low activity allele appears to confer increased vulnerability to the adverse psychosocial consequences of childhood sexual abuse.”

Dr. Ducci and her colleagues suggest that the effect of MAOA on the hippocampus, a brain region which is involved in the processing of emotional experience, may underlie the interaction between MAOA and childhood trauma. They note that previous research showed that people with the low activity variant at the MAOA-LPR locus have hyperactivation of the hippocampus when retrieving negative emotional information.

John Bowersox | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.niaaa.nih.gov
http://www.nih.gov

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>