Objective: The role of monoamine oxidase (MAO) in alcoholism was assessed by genetic association studies separately in five ethnic groups in Taiwan. Method: Restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RHLP) and dinucleotide repeat polymorphisms (DNRP) were used to determine MAOA and MAOB alleles in male alcoholic patients and nonalcoholic comparison subjects among Han Chinese and four aboriginal groups. Results: Significant associations of alcohol dependence with MAOA alleles (RFLP and DNRP) were found among the Han Chinese, but not among the aboriginal groups. No significant association with MAOB DNRP alleles was found in any group. Conclusions: Genetic heterogeneity may underlie alcoholism among different ethnic groups in Taiwan, and MAOA mutations may play a role in susceptibility to alcoholism among Han Chinese.
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