Serotonin transporter gene variants in alcohol-dependent subjects with dissocial personality disorder

Biol Psychiatry. 1998 Jun 15;43(12):908-12. doi: 10.1016/s0006-3223(97)00356-9.


Background: We tested the hypothesis that a functional biallelic repetitive element in the 5' regulatory region of the human serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) confers susceptibility to serotonin-related personality traits underlying alcohol dependence with dissocial behavior.

Methods: The association study was focused on 64 alcohol-dependent subjects with a dissocial personality disorder (according to ICD-10) who were derived from 315 German alcohol-dependent subjects. The Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ) was applied to assess personality dimensions in 101 alcohol-dependent men, including 39 dissocial alcoholics.

Results: Our association analyses revealed a trend towards a higher frequency of the short (S) allele of the SLC6A4 polymorphism in dissocial alcoholics compared to 216 German controls (chi 2 = 2.81, df = 1, p = 0.094). Dissocial alcoholics carrying the S/S genotype exhibited significant lower scores of harm avoidance compared to those lacking it (U-test, p = 0.015). Significantly higher novelty seeking scores were obtained in dissocial alcoholics carrying the S allele relative to those lacking it (U-test, p = 0.021).

Conclusions: Our tentative association findings in dissocial alcoholics suggest that the S allele of the 5' regulatory SLC6A4 polymorphism confers susceptibility to a temperamental profile of high novelty seeking and low harm avoidance that has been postulated to underlie dissocial (type-2) alcoholism according to Cloninger's neurogenetic theory of personality.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Alcoholism / genetics*
  • Alleles
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / complications
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / genetics*
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA / analysis
  • DNA / genetics
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • SLC6A4 protein, human
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Serotonin
  • DNA