Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Original Article

Predictors of Alcohol Use Disorder: MAOA Gene VNTR Polymorphism, Impulsivity, and Personality Traits


Department of Psychiatry, University of Health Sciences, Ankara City Hospital, Ankara, Turkey


Department of Psychiatry, Yenimahalle Training and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey


Department of Psychiatry, İstanbul Başakşehir Cam ve Sakura City Hospital, İstanbul, Turkey


Madalyon Psychiatry Center, Ankara, Turkey


Department of Psychiatry, Uskudar University School of Medicine, İstanbul, Turkey

Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology 2021; 31: 9-18
DOI: 10.5152/pcp.2021.20131
Read: 1635 Downloads: 42 Published: 01 April 2021

Objective: Risk factors for alcohol use disorder have been investigated for a long time. The MAOA gene presents several polymorphisms, including 30-bp variable number tandem repeat sequences (VNTR) in the promoter region. In this study, temperament characteristics, impulsivity, and frequency of MAOA-u VNTR polymorphism were investigated as risk factors for alcohol use disorder.

Materials and Methods: Sociodemographic data form, Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test, Barratt Impulsivity Scale-11, Temperament, and Character Inventory were applied to 188 patients with alcohol use disorder and 101 healthy controls.

Results: High-activity alleles of MAOA-u VNTR were found more prevalent in the control group. Novelty seeking was found higher and harm avoidance was found lower in patients with alcohol use disorder. There was an indirect relationship between MAOA-u VNTR low-activity allele and alcohol use disorder. According to the logistic regression model, motor impulsivity and novelty seeking may be important determinants of alcohol use disorder.

Conclusion: Some personality traits and impulsivity may be predictors of individuals’ risk for developing alcohol dependence. The MAOA gene may play an indirect role in the etiology of alcohol use disorders, and this polymorphism may be a partial marker for impulsivity. Other mechanisms that regulate neurotransmitters may also be involved in compensating for modified MAOA activity. Further research on the effects of genes associated with other neurotransmitters is needed to demonstrate any potential role of MAOA polymorphism in the formation of temperament characteristics and impulsivity.

Cite this article as: Kaya H, Bolat Kaya O, Enez Darcin A, Sercin Yalcin Cavus R, Civan Kahve A, Dilbaz N. Predictors of alcohol use disorder: MAOA gene polymorphism, impulsivity, and personality traits. Psychiatr Clin Psychopharmacol. 2021; 31: 9-18.

EISSN 2475-0581