Suicide is a well-defined public health problem and is a complex phenomenon influenced by a number of different risk factors, including genetic ones. Numerous studies have examined serotonin system genes. Monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) is an outer mitochondrial membrane enzyme which is involved in the metabolic pathway of serotonin degradation. Upstream variable number of tandem repeats (uVNTR) in the promoter region of MAOA gene affects the activity of transcription. In the present study we genotyped MAOA-uVNTR polymorphism in 266 suicide victims and 191 control subjects of Slovenian population, which ranks among the European and world populations with the highest suicide rate. Genotyping was performed with polymerase chain reaction and agarose gel electrophoresis. Using a separate statistical analysis for female and male subjects we determined the differences in genotype distributions of MAOA-uVNTR polymorphism between the studied groups. Statistical analysis showed a trend towards 3R allele and suicide, and associated 3R allele with non-violent suicide method on stratified data (20 suicide victims). This is the first study associating highly suicidal Slovenian population with MAOA-uVNTR polymorphism.
Keywords: Monoamine oxidase A; Polymorphism; Suicidal behaviour; VNTR.
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