A1 Journal article (refereed)
Ketone body 3-hydroxybutyrate as a biomarker of aggression (2021)

Whipp, A. M., Vuoksimaa, E., Korhonen, T., Pool, R., But, A., Ligthart, L., Hagenbeek, F. A., Bartels, M., Bogl, L. H., Pulkkinen, L., Rose, R. J., Boomsma, D. I., & Kaprio, J. (2021). Ketone body 3-hydroxybutyrate as a biomarker of aggression. Scientific Reports, 11, Article 5813. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-84635-6

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Whipp, A. M.; Vuoksimaa, E.; Korhonen, T.; Pool, R.; But, A.; Ligthart, L.; Hagenbeek, F. A.; Bartels, M.; Bogl, L. H.; Pulkkinen, L.; et al.

Journal or series: Scientific Reports

eISSN: 2045-2322

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 11

Article number: 5813

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-84635-6

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/74738

Publication is parallel published: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7955062/


Human aggression is a complex behaviour, the biological underpinnings of which remain poorly known. To gain insights into aggression biology, we studied relationships with aggression of 11 low-molecular-weight metabolites (amino acids, ketone bodies), processed using 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. We used a discovery sample of young adults and an independent adult replication sample. We studied 725 young adults from a population-based Finnish twin cohort born 1983–1987, with aggression levels rated in adolescence (ages 12, 14, 17) by multiple raters and blood plasma samples at age 22. Linear regression models specified metabolites as the response variable and aggression ratings as predictor variables, and included several potential confounders. All metabolites showed low correlations with aggression, with only one—3-hydroxybutyrate, a ketone body produced during fasting—showing significant (negative) associations with aggression. Effect sizes for different raters were generally similar in magnitude, while teacher-rated (age 12) and self-rated (age 14) aggression were both significant predictors of 3-hydroxybutyrate in multi-rater models. In an independent replication sample of 960 adults from the Netherlands Twin Register, higher aggression (self-rated) was also related to lower levels of 3-hydroxybutyrate. These exploratory epidemiologic results warrant further studies on the role of ketone metabolism in aggression.

Keywords: biopsychology; aggressiveness; biomarkers; metabolic products; ketones

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-17-06 at 10:19