Physical and verbal aggressive behavior and COMT genotype: Sensitivity to the environment
Colins, Olivier F.
Fanti, Kostas A.
Nilsson, Kent W.
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc
SourceAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics
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Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) genotype has been implicated as a vulnerability factor for several psychiatric diseases as well as aggressive behavior, either directly, or in interaction with an adverse environment. The present study aimed at investigating the susceptibility properties of COMT genotype to adverse and favorable environment in relation to physical and verbal aggressive behavior. The COMT Val158Met polymorphism was genotyped in a Swedish population-based cohort including 1,783 individuals, ages 20–24 years (47% males). A significant three-way interaction was found, after correction for multiple testing, between COMT genotype, exposure to violence, and parent–child relationship in association with physical but not verbal aggressive behavior. Homozygous for the Val allele reported lower levels of physical aggressive behavior when they were exposed to violence and at the same time experienced a positive parent–child relationship compared to Met carriers. Thus, susceptibility properties of COMT genotype were observed in relation to physical aggressive behavior supporting the hypothesis that COMT genotypes are modifying the sensitivity to environment that confers either risk or protection for aggressive behavior. As these are novel findings, they warrant further investigation and replication in independent samples. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.