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Psychiatry Res. 2004 Nov 30;129(1):29-37.

Association of aggressive behavior in Korean male schizophrenic patients with polymorphisms in the serotonin transporter promoter and catecholamine-O-methyltransferase genes.

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Department of Psychiatry, Chun-cheon National Hospital, Won chang Lee, Dong San Myun, Chun-cheon, Kang won 200-843, South Korea.


The incidence of aggressive behavior in patients with schizophrenia is higher than in the general population. Among particular gene polymorphisms posited to be involved in psychiatric disorders, the catecholamine-O-methyltransferase (COMT) and serotonin transporter (5-HTTPR) genes have been the focus of recent research on aggression. In this study, we hypothesized that both the COMT and the 5-HTTPR genotypes may be dependent on and related to aggression in Korean patients with schizophrenia. The subjects were 168 unrelated male schizophrenic patients diagnosed according to DSM-IV. Among two psychiatric hospital staff and medical university students, 158 unrelated male subjects with no lifetime history of psychiatric disorders were recruited to establish the COMT and 5-HTTPR genotype distribution in the general population. All episodes of aggression from the last discharge to readmission were rated. The Total Overt Aggression Scale (OAS) score (sum of the scores of all episodes of aggression), highest OAS score (highest individual episode score, 0-16), OAS category, and OAS category score (mean score within each category) were recorded. There were statistically significant effects of COMT genotype on the mean OAS 4 (physical aggression against other people) score and the highest OAS score. The most predictive was the OAS 4 score. There was a statistically significant effect of 5-HTTPR genotype on mean total score. Thus, the COMT gene is associated with the severity of aggression and with physical aggression against other people, whereas the 5-HTTPR gene is associated with the summary score of all episodes of aggression.

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