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Biol Psychiatry. 2006 Feb 15;59(4):334-40. Epub 2005 Oct 3.

Monoamine oxidase-a genetic variations influence brain activity associated with inhibitory control: new insight into the neural correlates of impulsivity.

Author information

  • 1Neurology Unit, Department of Neurosciences, University Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Previous evidence has shown that genetic variations in the serotonergic system contribute to individual differences in personality traits germane to impulse control. The monoamine oxidase-A (MAO-A) gene, coding for an enzyme primarily involved in serotonin and noradrenaline catabolism, presents a well-characterized functional polymorphism consisting of a variable number of tandem repeats in the promoter region, with high-activity and low-activity variants. High-activity allele carriers have higher enzyme expression, lower amine concentration, and present higher scores on behavioral measures of impulsivity than low-activity allele carriers.

METHODS:

We studied the relationship of this polymorphism to brain activity elicited by a response inhibition task (Go/NoGo task), using blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging in 24 healthy men.

RESULTS:

Direct comparison between groups revealed a greater BOLD response in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (Brodmann's area [BA] 45/47) in high-activity allele carriers, whereas a greater response in the right superior parietal cortex (BA 7) and bilateral extrastriate cortex (BA 18) was found in low-activity allele carriers.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data suggest that a specific genetic variation involving serotonergic catabolism can modulate BOLD response associated with human impulsivity.

PMID:
16202396
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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