Association between a functional polymorphism in the monoamine oxidase A gene promoter and major depressive disorder

Am J Med Genet. 2000 Dec 4;96(6):801-3.


Various polymorphisms of the X-chromosomal monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) gene were investigated for association with affective disorders. However, none of the studied variants could consistently be associated with either major depressive or bipolar affective disorder. Recently, a positive association between panic disorder and a novel functional repeat polymorphism in the MAO-A gene promoter, with the longer alleles being more active, was reported. Since monoaminergic neurotransmission is supposed to play an important role in affective disorders, we investigated a potential association of this polymorphism with major depressive illness in a sample of 146 unrelated patients of German descent and a control group of 101 individuals with a negative life history for affective disorders. Similarly to the recent findings in panic disorder, we observed a significantly increased frequency of genotypes containing only long alleles in female patients with recurrent major depression in comparison with age- and sex-matched controls. Thus, our data suggest that an excess of high-activity MAO-A gene promoter alleles resulting in an elevated MAO-A activity is a risk factor for major depressive disorder in females. Am. J. Med. Genet. (Neuropsychiatr. Genet.) 96:801-803, 2000.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alleles
  • Depressive Disorder / enzymology
  • Depressive Disorder / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monoamine Oxidase / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics*


  • Monoamine Oxidase