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The Relation of Serotonin-Related Gene and <em>COMT</em> Gene Polymorphisms With Criminal Behavior in Schizophrenic Disorder

J Clin Psychiatry 2012;73(2):159-163

Objective: It has been suggested that patients with schizophrenia might be involved in criminal behavior, such as homicidal and violent behavior. However, the relationship between criminal behavior and genes in patients with schizophrenia has not been clearly elucidated. The objective of this study was to examine the relation between criminal behavior and serotonin-related gene or catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene polymorphisms in patients with schizophrenia.

Method: Serotonin-related and COMT polymorphic markers were assessed by using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping. Ninety-nine crime-related inpatients with schizophrenia (57 homicidal and 42 nonhomicidal violent) and 133 healthy subjects were enrolled between October 2005 and May 2008. Diagnoses were made according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria. The genotype frequencies of tryptophan hydroxylase-1 (TPH1) A218C and COMT V158M were compared between groups.

Results: The TPH1 CC genotype had 2.7-fold higher odds of crime-related schizophrenia compared with A-carrier genotype after the analysis was controlled for sex and age (OR, 2.69; 95% CI, 1.22 5.91; P = .01). In addition, the TPH1 CC genotype had 3.4-fold higher odds of homicidal schizophrenia compared with A-carrier genotype after the analysis was controlled for sex and age (OR, 3.38; 95% CI, 1.40 8.18; P = .007). However, no significant differences were found in the frequencies of genotype of COMT polymorphism between criminal schizophrenics and healthy subjects, nor were any significant differences found between nonhomicidal schizophrenics and healthy subjects.

Conclusions: These results indicate that the TPH1 CC recessive genotype is likely to be a genetic risk factor for criminal behavior, especially homicidal behavior in patients with schizophrenia. However, COMT gene polymorphisms were not associated with criminal behavior in schizophrenic patients.

J Clin Psychiatry

Submitted: July 27, 2010; accepted December 9, 2010.

Online ahead of print: October 18, 2011 (doi:10.4088/JCP.10m06443).

Corresponding author: Kyung Bong Koh, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University College of Medicine, 50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 120-752, Korea (kbkoh@yuhs.ac).