The MAOA and COMT Gene Polymorphisms in Patients with Schizophrenia Committed Homicide

V.A. Soldatkin, PhD, ScD¹,*; T.P. Shkurat, PhD, ScD²; A.S. Bobkov¹; E.V. Mashkina, PhD²; A.V. Tretyakov³; A.Ya. Perekhov, PhD¹; V.V. Mrykhin, PhD¹; A.I. Kovalev¹; O.A. Bukhanovskaya, PhD¹; M.N. Kryuchkova¹

¹Rostov State Medical University, Rostov-on-Don, Russia; ²Southern Federal University, Rostov-on-Don, Russia;³Psychoneurological dispensary, Novocherkassk, Russia

*Corresponding author: Victor A. Soldatkin, PhD, ScD. Head of Department of Psychiatry and Addiction of Rostov State Medical University; Rostov-on-Don, Russia. E-mail:

Published: December 23, 2014. 


Numerous studies have indicated that aggression and homicide are more frequent among people with schizophrenia than in the general population. There is considerable evidence that schizophrenia involves a dysbalance between subcortical and cortical dopaminergic systems. The major pathways for catecholamine degradation are oxidative deamination through the action of monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) and by methylation through the action of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT).  Activity of both enzymes is encoded by the corresponding genes—MAOA and COMT. The aim of our study was to analyze the association between the COMT-Val158Met and MAOA-uVNTR polymorphisms and the risk of committing homicide by patients with schizophrenia.

Methods: The study included 50 Caucasian male patients with paranoid schizophrenia (PS). All patients were divided into two groups: Group 1 consisted of 26 PS patients who have committed homicide; Group 2 consisted of 24 PS patients who did not have a history of socially violent behavior.  The control group comprised 23 apparently healthy Caucasian men of the same age.  All patients underwent clinical-psychopathological and clinical-anamnestic examinations. Molecular genetic studies were performed in the Shared Research Facility Center "High Technologies" at SFedU. 

Results: Our study revealed no direct correlation between the COMT-Val158Met and MAOA-uVNTR polymorphisms and risk of committing homicide by patients with schizophrenia. At the same time, we detected an association between high-activity gene variants, viz., the MAOA-4R allele and the COMT-158Met/158Met genotype, and the schizoid and unstable premorbid accentuation in patients who had committed murder, whereas the schizoid and unstable accentuation correlated with homicide behavior in patients with schizophrenia.

Conclusion: The obtained findings suggest that genetic variation affects the homicidal behavior indirectly, through the various types of premorbid accentuation and confirm the validity of the well-known concept of "syndrome-person-situation," traced back to the mid-20th century, which explains the commission of serious offenses by patients with schizophrenia.

schizophrenia, homicide, COMT-Val158Met and MAOA-uVNTR polymorphisms
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Int J Biomed. 2014; 4(4):213-217. © 2014 International Medical Research and Development Corporation. All rights reserved.