Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) is a mitochondrial enzyme involved in degrading several different biological amines, including serotonin. Although several pieces of evidence suggested that MAOA is important in the etiology of bipolar affective disorder (BPD), associations for markers of the MAOA gene with BPD were not conclusive and the association has not been investigated in Taiwanese population. This study was designed to illustrate the role of MAOA in the etiology of BPD in Han Chinese.
Two markers, a dinucleotide polymorphism in exon 2 and a functional uVNTR on the promoter of the MAOA gene, were used to study the genetic association in 108 unrelated patients with BPD and 103 healthy controls. Allelic distributions of two polymorphisms were analyzed and, caused the MAOA located at X chromosome, haplotype association was performed using haplotype unambiguously assigned in male participants.
While no difference in allelic distributions of two MAOA polymorphisms was found, the risk haplotype 114S was associated with BPD in male patients (P = 0.03). The significance, however, was not found in female patients with 114S haplotype.
Results from this study suggest that MAOA may have a gender-specific and small effect on the etiology of BPD in Taiwan. Due to the limited sample size, results from this study need to be confirmed in replicates.