Children's DAT1 Polymorphism Moderates the Relationship Between Parents' Psychological Profiles, Children's DAT Methylation, and Their Emotional/Behavioral Functioning in a Normative Sample

Silvia Cimino, Luca Cerniglia, Giulia Ballarotto, Eleonora Marzilli, Esterina Pascale, Claudio D'Addario, Walter Adriani, Angelo Giovanni Icro Maremmani, Renata Tambelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Parental psychopathological risk is considered as one of the most crucial features associated with epigenetic modifications in offspring, which in turn are thought to be related to their emotional/behavioral profiles. The dopamine active transporter (DAT) gene is suggested to play a significant role in affective/behavioral regulation. On the basis of the previous literature, we aimed at verifying whether children's DAT1 polymorphisms moderated the relationship between parents' psychological profiles, children's emotional/behavioral functioning, and DAT1 methylation in a normative sample of 79 families with school-age children (Ntot = 237). Children's biological samples were collected through buccal swabs, while Symptom Check-List-90 item Revised, Adult Self Report, and Child Behavior Check-List/6-18 was administered to assess parental and children's psychological functioning. We found that higher maternal externalizing problems predicted the following: higher levels of children's DAT1 methylation at M1, but only among children with 10/10 genotype; higher levels of methylation at M2 among children with 10/10 genotype; while lower levels for children with a 9-repeat allele. There was also a positive relationship between fathers' externalizing problems and children's externalizing problems, only for children with a 9-repeat allele. Our findings support emerging evidence of the complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors in shaping children' emotional/behavioral functioning, contributing to the knowledge of risk variables for a child's development and psychological well-being.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume16
Issue number14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 18 2019

Keywords

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • DNA Methylation
  • Depression
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins/genetics
  • Emotions
  • Fathers/psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylation
  • Mothers/psychology
  • Parents
  • Stress, Psychological

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