Event Title

Genetic Contribution to Alcohol Use and Subsequent Impulsive Aggression

Presenter Information

Christa Christ, USC Upstate

Location

Breakout Session A: Humanities and Social Sciences

CASB 104

Start Date

8-4-2022 2:45 PM

End Date

8-4-2022 3:00 PM

Description

Impulsive aggression, which is particularly common among emerging adults, is a behavioral trait that increases risk for suicide, self-harm, and violent behavior toward others. Among college students in particular, almost one-third report perpetrating intimate partner violence in the past year. Therefore, understanding the mechanism through which the likelihood of impulsive aggressive behavior is increased is important. One currently understood precursor to impulsive aggression is alcohol use. Alcohol use, which is also prominent among college students, lowers inhibition and increases aggressive behavior. However, not everyone who consumes alcohol is likely to become aggressive. Therefore, an examination of more distal individual factors is warranted. Because impulsive aggression is a heritable trait, genetic variation is a factor of interest. Particularly, genetic variation affecting serotonin neurotransmission needs further exploration. Serotonin, and multiple regulatory serotonin genes, have already been previously associated with impulsive aggression. However, each individual genetic variant contributes a small fraction to individual differences in impulsive aggression. By continuing to explore the effect of emerging genetic variants, we can continue to enhance our understanding of the complex quantitative nature of such behaviors. Very recently, the genetic variant rs6437000 within the HTR2B gene, which codes for a receptor that modulates the release of serotonin, has been shown to alter the function of the gene. Additionally, the rs6437000 variant has been associated with alcohol use, impulsivity, and aggressive behavior individually. However, it has yet to be explored if this variant contributes to individual differences in impulsive aggression and whether the relationship might be mediated by alcohol use. Self-reported data and genetic material was collected from a sample of 825 college students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Findings indicated that, consistent with expectations, men with an A-allele of rs6437000 reported higher impulsive aggression compared to men with two C-alleles. This relationship was mediated by higher alcohol use. There was no effect of genotype for women. These original findings enhance our understanding of the genetic architecture of impulsive aggression, suggesting the likelihood of impulsive aggression among men is increased by alcohol use and more likely to occur for certain individuals with genetic predisposition. While findings enhance our understanding of impulsive aggression precursors, only a small amount of variance is accounted for by these factors, and so additional factors should be explored within this statistical model.

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Apr 8th, 2:45 PM Apr 8th, 3:00 PM

Genetic Contribution to Alcohol Use and Subsequent Impulsive Aggression

Breakout Session A: Humanities and Social Sciences

CASB 104

Impulsive aggression, which is particularly common among emerging adults, is a behavioral trait that increases risk for suicide, self-harm, and violent behavior toward others. Among college students in particular, almost one-third report perpetrating intimate partner violence in the past year. Therefore, understanding the mechanism through which the likelihood of impulsive aggressive behavior is increased is important. One currently understood precursor to impulsive aggression is alcohol use. Alcohol use, which is also prominent among college students, lowers inhibition and increases aggressive behavior. However, not everyone who consumes alcohol is likely to become aggressive. Therefore, an examination of more distal individual factors is warranted. Because impulsive aggression is a heritable trait, genetic variation is a factor of interest. Particularly, genetic variation affecting serotonin neurotransmission needs further exploration. Serotonin, and multiple regulatory serotonin genes, have already been previously associated with impulsive aggression. However, each individual genetic variant contributes a small fraction to individual differences in impulsive aggression. By continuing to explore the effect of emerging genetic variants, we can continue to enhance our understanding of the complex quantitative nature of such behaviors. Very recently, the genetic variant rs6437000 within the HTR2B gene, which codes for a receptor that modulates the release of serotonin, has been shown to alter the function of the gene. Additionally, the rs6437000 variant has been associated with alcohol use, impulsivity, and aggressive behavior individually. However, it has yet to be explored if this variant contributes to individual differences in impulsive aggression and whether the relationship might be mediated by alcohol use. Self-reported data and genetic material was collected from a sample of 825 college students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Findings indicated that, consistent with expectations, men with an A-allele of rs6437000 reported higher impulsive aggression compared to men with two C-alleles. This relationship was mediated by higher alcohol use. There was no effect of genotype for women. These original findings enhance our understanding of the genetic architecture of impulsive aggression, suggesting the likelihood of impulsive aggression among men is increased by alcohol use and more likely to occur for certain individuals with genetic predisposition. While findings enhance our understanding of impulsive aggression precursors, only a small amount of variance is accounted for by these factors, and so additional factors should be explored within this statistical model.