Psychological Medicine

Original Articles

Aggression and personality: association with amino acids and monoamine metabolites

S. E. Møllera1 c1, E. L. Mortensena1, L. Breuma1, C. Allinga1, O. G. Larsena1, T. Bøge-Rasmussena1, C. Jensena1 and K. Bennickea1

a1 Research Institute of Biological Psychiatry, St Hans Hospital, Roskilde; Institute of Preventive Medicine, Copenhagen Health Services and Departments of Endocrinology, Radiology and Neurosurgery, Hvidovre Hospital and Department of Endocrinology E, Frederiksberg Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; and Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry, University of Lund, Sweden


Associations in 52 normal individuals were examined between plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of tryptophan (Trp) and tyrosine, and concentrations of monoamine metabolites in the CSF, and scores on an aggression questionnaire, the Kinsey Institute Reaction List II, and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. There was a significantly positive correlation between CSF 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) levels and extroverted aggression scores, and a significantly negative correlation between CSF 5-HIAA levels and introverted aggression scores. Males showed higher plasma Trp concentrations than females, and significantly positive correlations between plasma Trp concentrations and scores on extroverted aggression and the Eysenck E scale. Males, furthermore, showed a significantly negative correlation between CSF Trp levels and scores on the Eysenck P scale, and a significantly positive correlation between concentration of 3-methoxy-4-hydroxy-phenylglycol in CSF and scores on moral aggression. These results suggest that central serotonin influences aggression in normal individuals through effects on personality.


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Svend Erik Møller, Department of Clinical Research, H. Lundbeck A/S, Ottiliavej 9, DK-2500, Copenhagen-Valby, Denmark.