Influence of androgen receptor repeat polymorphisms on personality traits in men

Influence of androgen receptor repeat polymorphisms on personality traits in men


J Psychiatry Neurosci 2010; 34(3): 205-213

Lars Westberg, PhD; Susanne Henningsson, PhD; Mikael Landén, MD, PhD; Kristina Annerbrink, PhD; Jonas Melke, PhD; Staffan Nilsson, PhD; Roland Rosmond, MD, PhD; Göran Holm, MD, PhD; Henrik Anckarsäter, MD, PhD; Elias Eriksson, PhD

Westberg, Henningsson, Annerbrink, Melke, Eriksson — Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg; Landén — Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm; Nilsson— Department of Mathematical Statistics, Chalmers University, Gothenburg; Rosmond, Holm — Department of Heart and Lung Diseases, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg; Anckarsäter — Forensic Psychiatric Clinic, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden


Background: Testosterone has been attributed importance for various aspects of behaviour. The aim of our study was to investigate the potential influence of 2 functional polymorphisms in the amino terminal of the androgen receptor on personality traits in men.

Methods: We assessed and genotyped 141 men born in 1944 recruited from the general population. We used 2 different instruments: the Karolinska Scales of Personality and the Temperament and Character Inventory. For replication, we similarly assessed 63 men recruited from a forensic psychiatry study group.

Results: In the population-recruited sample, the lengths of the androgen receptor repeats were associated with neuroticism, extraversion and self-transcendence. The association with extraversion was replicated in the independent sample.

Limitations: Our 2 samples differed in size; sample 1 was of moderate size and sample 2 was small. In addition, the homogeneity of sample 1 probably enhanced our ability to detect significant associations between genotype and phenotype.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that the repeat polymorphisms in the androgen receptor gene may influence personality traits in men.

Submitted Feb. 6, 2008; Revised Jul. 25, 2008; Accepted Sep. 23, 2008

Acknowledgements: Inger Oscarsson and Gunilla Bourghardt are gratefully acknowledged for their excellent technical assistance. The study was supported by grants from the Swedish Science Council (8668), Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg’s Foundation and the Swedish BrainPower consortium.

Competing interests: None declared.

Contributors: Drs. Westberg, Rosmond, Anckarsäter and Eriksson designed the study. Drs. Westberg, Landén, Annerbrink, Melke, Rosmond, Holm, Anckarsäter and Eriksson acquired the data, which Drs. Westberg, Henningsson, Melke, Nilsson, Anckarsäter and Eriksson analyzed. Drs. Westberg and Eriksson wrote the article. All authors reviewed the article and gave final approval for publication.

Correspondence to: Dr. L. Westberg, Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Gothenburg University, PO Box 431, SE 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden; fax 46 31 821085;