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 Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

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

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>