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Estrogen and personality in women

Molecular Psychiatry

ARTICLE: "Association between a dinucleotide repeat polymorphism of the estrogen receptor alpha gene and personality traits in women."

L Westberg (1), J Melke (1), M Landén (2), S Nilsson (3), F Baghaei (4), R Rosmond (4), M Jansson (1), G Holm (4), P Björntorp (4) and E Eriksson (1)

(1) Department of Pharmacology, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden

(2) Institute of Clinical Neuroscience, Section of Psychiatry, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden

(3) Department of Mathematical Statistics, Chalmers University of Technology, and Department of Clinical Genetics, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden

(4) Institute of Heart and Lung Disease, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden

Estrogens are known to play a key role in the regulation of various aspects of behavior. In order to study the potential contribution of genetic variation in the estrogen receptor (ER) alpha to specific personality traits, the authors investigated a repeat polymorphism in the ER alpha gene in 172 42-year-old women who had been assessed using the Karolinska Scales of Personality (KSP). Based on the hypothesis that there is a relationship between the length of a repeat polymorphism and gene function,1 the alleles were divided into two groups: short and long. In order to elucidate the possible influence of the ER alpha gene on the different aspects of personality measured by means of the KSP, the possible association between this gene and four different factors ('neuroticism', 'psychoticism', 'non-conformity', and 'extraversion') was analysed. 'Neuroticism', 'psychoticism', and 'non-conformity' all appeared to be associated with the ER alpha gene. After correction for multiple comparisons by means of permutation analysis, the associations with the factor 'non-conformity,' including the subscales 'indirect aggression' and 'irritability' and the factor 'psychoticism,' including the subscale 'suspicion' remained significant. The results suggest that the studied dinucleotide repeat polymorphism of the ER alpha gene may contribute to specific components of personality.

Citation source: Molecular Psychiatry 2003, Volume 8, number 1, pages 118-122.

For further information on this work, please contact Dr. Correspondence to: Lars Westberg, Department of Pharmacology, Göteborg University, PO Box. 431, SE 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden. Phone: 46-31-7733413. E-mail:


Molecular Psychiatry is published by the Nature Publishing Group.

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