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MAO-A or genetic inheritance: May be the cause of aggression in your kid

July 21, 2022

5 min read

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Author : United We Care
MAO-A or genetic inheritance: May be the cause of aggression in your kid


You may have often observed that your kid is angry for no reason. You may watch them start showing tantrums or being aggressive without a second thought. Why is it so?
What is the reason for such transformed behaviour in your kid? You may have observed them suddenly transition from a normal calm kid to an aggressive and angry person. They may be just making decisions without any wise thought. Such a situation occurs when your kid has MAO-A.

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What is MAO-A?

Monoamine oxidase A, also known as MAO-A, is an enzyme that in humans is encoded by the MAO-A gene. This gene is one of two neighbouring family members that encode mitochondrial enzymes that catalyse the oxidative deamination of amines, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. A mutation of this gene could also result in Brunner syndrome.
Doctors have associated the Monoamine oxidase A gene with various psychiatric disorders, including antisocial behaviour. It is because it actively destroys the neurotransmitters of the brain, which are mainly responsible for communicating with the rest of the body and thus causing aggressive behaviours.
MAO-A or genetic inheritance

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What are the functions of MAO-A?

The normal function of MAO-A is to provide instructions to create an enzyme. The enzyme is a member of the enzymes that break monoamine oxidase molecules through oxidation. MAO-A parts to breaks down neurotransmitters such as serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

  • Signals transmitted by serotonin affect mood, emotion, sleep, and appetite.
  • Epinephrine and norepinephrine control the body’s response to stress.
  • Dopamine sends signals within the brain to produce smooth physical movements.
  • Monoamine oxidase helps in the breakdown of monoamines found in the diet. It’s essential to break down excess tyramine in cheese and other foods.
  • Monoamine oxidase A enzyme plays a role in the controlled self-destruction of cells. It also caters to the development of the brain before birth.

How does aggression arise from MAO-A?

MAO-A gene is located on the X chromosome and is also known as the Warrior gene. People display aggressive characteristics due to excess serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. MAO-A is a mutant mouse, making it more aggressive and reactive to stress. Humans have different categories of M.A.O. variants.
Studies have linked the MAO-A gene to violent or physically dangerous activities that are impulsive and unplanned. It can also be remotely related to Burner’s syndrome. Apart from aggression, there are various factors that you can keep a watch on to determine whether your child has MAO-A. These factors include unbalanced sleep habits, impulsive hand movements, and lack of intelligent behaviour.

What is the genetic inheritance of aggression from MAO-A?

Research shows that in the 1990s, the lower level of MAO-A showed a higher frequency of aggressive behaviour among people. Even higher when individuals are traumatised or poorly treated during their early childhood, it leads to antisocial personality disorder.
MAO-A gene is located on the X chromosome and is also known as the Warrior gene. The presence of this gene affects the following systems:

  1. The dopamine system: Regulates motivation, mood, recognition, and reward.
  2. The serotonin system: Affects the regulation of appetite and sleeping schedule. It also affects impulse control.
  3. The epinephrine system regulates the autonomic nervous system activities and flight or fight disorders.

How do you control the aggression in your kids, which is a possible contribution of MAO-A?

You can give your child monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO-AIs) to take possible measures. These are the first type of antidepressants. While using MAO-AIs, you must take strict care of their diet and several other medications, which severely affect your blood pressure.
MAO-AI helps reduce depression by inhibiting chemical messengers that help to communicate between brain cells. 
An enzyme named monoamine oxidase degrades neurotransmitters like serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. MAO-AI help to prevent this action. For this reason, more brain chemicals are prone to change in both circuits, and cells depression has impacted.
You must prevent your child from consuming high levels of tyramine, like meat with high levels of amino acids, cheese, soy sauce, miso, etc., as they regulate blood pressure. It is because MAO-AIs alignment with tyramine can increase blood pressure to a dangerous level.
The Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) has approved MAO-AIs to treat depression.
Side effects of MAO-AIs include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Skin reaction
  • Dizziness
  • Low blood pressure, etc.

Also, take care of specific safety concerns that are associated with MAO-AIs:

  • Antidepressants and pregnancy: There may be a risk of side effects of some antidepressants on pregnant women.
  • Food and beverage interactions: There is a strict need to avoid foods rich in tyramine and contain amino acids.

Other safety concerns include drug interactions, suicide risk, and serotonin syndrome.


MAO-A causes a disorder that can turn your child’s character into something they may not be. The disturbing levels of neurotransmitters compel a person to conduct absurd activities. Although there is no definite cure for this disease, MAO-A inhibitors work wonders. They ensure that the right amount of neurotransmitters are released and present in the body.
Understanding such patients and their trigger points can also help them a lot. Controlling environmental factors and therapy have proven useful. If your child is impulsive, aggressive and shows traits of MAO-A, you must consult a doctor soon.

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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