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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 243280, 6 pages
Research Article

A Functional Polymorphism of the MAOA Gene Modulates Spontaneous Brain Activity in Pons

1The Medical Psychological Institute of the Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410011, China
2Department of Biomedical Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ 07102, USA
3Center for Functional Neuroimaging, Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
4Department of Psychology, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510275, China

Received 12 March 2014; Revised 13 May 2014; Accepted 14 May 2014; Published 25 May 2014

Academic Editor: Yong He

Copyright © 2014 Hui Lei et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To investigate the effects of a functional polymorphism of the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene on spontaneous brain activity in healthy male adolescents. Methods. Thirty-one healthy male adolescents with the low-activity MAOA genotype (MAOA-L) and 25 healthy male adolescents with the high-activity MAOA genotype (MAOA-H) completed the 11-item Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-11) questionnaire and were subjected to resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) scans. The amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF) of the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal was calculated using REST software. ALFF data were related to BIS scores and compared between genotype groups. Results. Compared with the MAOA-H group, the MAOA-L group showed significantly lower ALFFs in the pons. There was a significant correlation between the BIS scores and the ALFF values in the pons for MAOA-L group, but not for the MAOA-H group. Further regression analysis showed a significant genotype by ALFF values interaction effect on BIS scores. Conclusions. Lower spontaneous brain activity in the pons of the MAOA-L male adolescents may provide a neural mechanism by which boys with the MAOA-L genotype confers risk for impulsivity and aggression.