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Objectives: The heterogeneity of schizophrenia mainly results from variations in clinical expressions of the disease, such as age at onset, gender differences in onset of illness, symptoms and response to antipsychotic treatment. Enhanced sensitisation of dopamine pathways in males, having consistently an earlier onset, might be implicated as disease modifiers for schizophrenia in males.
Methods: In this study, we performed a case (n = 87)-control (n = 100) association study between the DBH5′-ins/del and DBH-444g/a polymorphisms of the DBH gene and also compared the level of psychotic symptoms between patients with different DBH genotypes/haplotypes with respect to antipsychotic therapeutic response and gender difference.
Results: No significant differences between allele and genotype and haplotype frequencies at either groups (p < 0.05). When the age is considered in patient group, a significant difference was observed between patients with ID genotype and with II genotype (p = 0.018). Patients with ID genotype have been diagnosed as schizophrenics in early ages when compared to II genotype carriers. We also found a significant difference between II and ID genotype (p = 0.007) when the gender had taken into account, showing that the ID genotype carriers had an early onset to schizophrenia.
Conclusions: This association was more significant in male schizophrenia patients than females. Thus, this finding may constitute a novel biological support for the prior finding that onset of schizophrenia varies with gender. The results also showed that critical genetic vulnerability may be associated with the presence or absence of the ID genotype of DBH5′-ins/del.
Prefrontal and/or temporo-limbic abnormalities associated with antisocial personality disorder (APD), high psychopathy scores and violent behaviours can readily be evaluated by neuroimaging methods.
In this study, we compared the brain metabolites in adult male military conscripts with APD, high psychopathy scores and serious violent crimes (n = 15) with age- and educational-level-matched healthy controls (n = 15) by means of magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
All cases were diagnosed by means of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual-IV APD module of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM III-R Axis II Disorders (SCID-II) semistructured questionnaire in Turkish. The psychopathy scores were evaluated by means of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised translated into Turkish (PCL-R). PCL-R is a 20-item, reliable and valid instrument for assessment of psychopathy, both in categorical and dimensional natures. All patients had a total score of 29 (of possible 40) or higher from PCL-R, indicating a high degree of psychopathy.
Our results showed no significant differences in ratio of N-acetyl aspartate (NAA), creatine (Cr) and choline-related compounds in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and amygdala–hippocampus regions of cases compared with controls. ACC NAA/Cr was significantly negatively correlated with both the PCL-R total score and the PCL-R factor I score (interpersonal/affective problems) among the cases.
As ACC plays an important role in decision-making and emotional information processing, we postulate that the lower NAA/Cr ratio, suggesting impaired neural integrity, may increase the severity of interpersonal/affective problems of the psychopathy factor in male subjects exhibiting APD, high psychopathy overall scores and violent crimes.
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