Threat-avoidance tendencies moderate the link between serotonin transporter genetic variation and reactive aggression
Number of pages
SourceFrontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 14, (2020), article 562098
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI KLP
Onderzoekcentrum voor Staat en Recht
PI Group Affective Neuroscience
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
Subject230 Affective Neuroscience; All institutes and research themes of the Radboud University Medical Center; Experimental Psychopathology and Treatment; Radboudumc 13: Stress-related disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience; Radboudumc 7: Neurodevelopmental disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
The short (S) allele of the serotonin transporter-linked promoter region (5-HTTLPR) polymorphism has been linked to reactive aggression in men, but this association is less consistent in females. Reactive aggression has been particularly described as a result of fear-driven defense to threat, but how this interaction between defensive behavior and aggression is expressed in S-allele carriers remains unknown. In order to explore this interplay between 5-HTTLPR genotype, defensive behavior and reactive aggression, we combined genotyping with objective measures of action tendencies toward angry faces in an approach-avoidance task (AAT) and reactive aggression in the Taylor aggression paradigm (TAP) in healthy females, N = 95. This study shows that female S-allele carriers in general display increased implicit reactive aggression (administering aversive white noise) toward opponents. Furthermore, we found that threat-avoidance tendencies moderate the association between 5-HTTLPR genotype and aggression displayed on the TAP. Together, these findings indicate a positive correlation between avoidance of angry faces in the AAT and reactive aggression in the TAP exclusively present in S-allele carriers.
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