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Aggressive behaviour in patients with schizophrenia is associated with catechol-O-methyltransferase genotype

Sanders, Robert and Jones, G. and Norton, N. and Zammit, S. (2001) Aggressive behaviour in patients with schizophrenia is associated with catechol-O-methyltransferase genotype. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 179 (4). pp. 351-355.

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Abstract

Background Evidence exists for an association between aggression and schizophrenia. Although the aetiology of aggression is multifactorial, three studies have reported associations between polymorphisms of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene and aggression in schizophrenia.

Aims To replicate these findings in a larger sample using the Overt Aggression Scale (OAS).

Method A sample of 180 people with DSM—IV schizophrenia were rated for aggression using the OAS. Kruskal—Wallis and contingency table analyses were applied to the OAS results.

Results The high-activity homozygotes showed significantly higher scores of aggression, whereas the heterozygotes showed significantly lower scores. The odds ratio for aggression for the high-activity homozygotes was 2.07 (95% Cl=1.03-4.15), whereas that for the heterozygotes was 0.54 (95% Cl=0.30-1.00).

Conclusions The high-activity COMT homozygote confers a higher risk of recorded aggression in schizophrenia. Heterozygotes had a significantly lower risk, which may represent an example of heterosis/heterozygote advantage.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: 10.1192/bjp.179.4.351
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
School/Department: School of Psychological & Social Sciences
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/67

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