The association study of polymorphic variants of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system genes (AVPR1B, OXTR) and aggressive behavior manifestation: a focus on social environment
Background: Aggressive behavior (AB) represents an important social problem, which results in significant costs for the society. A significant role in developing aggression is suggested to be mediated by molecular mechanisms related to the functioning of oxytocin (OXTR) and arginine vasopressin receptor (AVPR1B) genes involved in the regulation of social behavior. On the other hand, a specificity of environmental factors affecting an individual at various stages of development may modulate the molecular processes, especially at gene expression level, thus affecting human’s ability to self-control and resulting in AB manifestation. The aim of the study: Considering a multifactorial nature of developing aggression, the present study is aimed to estimate both the genetic- and haplotype-based effects of the OXTR and AVPR1B genes and gene-by-environment interactions in developing AB. Materials and methods: The genotyping of the OXTR (rs2228485, rs53576) and AVPR1B (rs33911258) gene variants was conducted via PCR with fluorescent detection in 189 criminal offenders (7% women) from the Republic of Bashkortostan, who committed murders, and the control group (N=254, 12% women) corresponding to the group of criminal offenders by ethnicity and age. Statistical analysis was performed via logistic regression with correction for multiple comparisons (PLINK v.1.09). Results: As a result of statistical analysis the association of rs2228485 A-alleleand AG haplotype (rs2228485andrs53576) in the OXTR gene with an enhanced risk for developing AB was observed. In addition, we demonstrated a modulating effect of such environmental factors as the presence of severe somatic diseases, alcohol addiction, familial history of psychopathologies, income and education level. Moreover, the effect of rs33911258 G-allele in the AVPR1B gene on AB was observed. Conclusion: The data obtained evidence that the examined variants in the AVPR1B and OXTR genes in combination with specific environmental factors may affect neuronal systems functioning, thus resulting in the manifestation of antisocial behavior.