Objective: Children of substance-abusing (SA) fathers have been found to have increased rates of conduct disorder (CD). Substance abuse and antisocial behavior have been linked to alterations in dopaminergic regulation and to monoamine oxidase (MAO) in adults. This study assessed the relationship between homovanillic acid (HVA), the metabolite of dopamine (DA), and MAO, the enzyme facilitating the conversion of DA to HVA, with CD in boys of SA and non-SA fathers. Method: Male youths (N = 65), between the ages of 6 and 15 years, admitted to a residential setting because of behavior problems, were studied through peripheral blood samples and structured interviews. Results: The findings indicated that MAO activity was significantly higher in boys of SA fathers with CD than (1) in boys of non-SA fathers with CD and (2) in boys of SA fathers without CD. HVA levels did not differ significantly among the groups. Conclusions: In the context of previous studies, the findings support the concept of dopaminergic dysregulation in sons of SA fathers, manifested by alterations in MAO activity levels in those youths with CD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)