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Neuroreport. 2002 Jul 2;13(9):1195-8.

High activity-related allele of MAO-A gene associated with depressed suicide in males.

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  • 1Institute of Mental Health Research at Royal Ottawa Hospital and University of Ottawa, 1145 Carling Ave., Ontario K1Z 7K4, Canada.


Abnormalities in brain monoamine oxidase A activity have been implicated in the pathogenesis of depressive illness and suicidal behavior. The present investigation was to determine whether there is an association between MAO-A gene polymorphism and depressed suicide. The EcoRV polymorphism in MAO-A gene with alleles associated with enzyme activity was studied in postmortem brain samples from 44 depressed suicide victims and 92 control subjects of the same ethnic background. We have found significant differences in genotype/allele distribution between depressed suicide victims and controls in males (p = 0.012) but not in females or the total sample. The odds ratio (OR) for the high activity-related allele of the MAO-A gene associated with depressed suicide in males was 3.1. Our finding suggests that MAO-A may be a susceptibility gene in depressed male suicide victims. The results thus provide further evidence that genetic factors can modulate risk for depression, suicide or both by influencing monoaminergic activity in sexually dimorphic manner.

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