Review. Genetics of addictions: strategies for addressing heterogeneity and polygenicity of substance use disorders.
ABSTRACT: Addictions are common psychiatric disorders that exert high cost to the individual and to society. Addictions are a result of the interplay of multiple genetic and environmental factors. They are characterized by phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity as well as polygenicity, implying a contribution of different neurobiological mechanisms to the clinical diagnosis. Therefore, treatments for most substance use disorders are often only partially effective, with a substantial proportion of patients failing to respond. To address heterogeneity and polygenicity, strategies have been developed to identify more homogeneous subgroups of patients and to characterize genes contributing to their phenotype. These include genetic linkage and association studies as well as functional genetic analysis using endophenotypes and animal behavioural experimentation. Applying these strategies in a translational context aims at improving therapeutic response by the identification of subgroups of addiction patients for individualized, targeted treatment strategies. This article aims to discuss strategies addressing heterogeneity and polygenicity of substance use disorders by presenting results of recent research on genetic and environmental components of addiction. It will also introduce the European IMAGEN study that aims to integrate methodical approaches discussed in order to identify the genetic and neurobiological basis of behavioural traits relevant to the development of addictions.
Project description:Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been performed for many psychiatric disorders and revealed a complex polygenic architecture linking mental and physical health phenotypes. Psychiatric diagnoses are often heterogeneous, and several layers of trait heterogeneity may contribute to detection of genetic risks per disorder or across multiple disorders. In this review, we discuss these heterogeneities and their consequences on the discovery of risk loci using large-scale genetic data. We primarily highlight the ways in which sex and diagnostic complexity contribute to risk locus discovery in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette's syndrome and chronic tic disorder, anxiety disorders, suicidality, feeding and eating disorders, and substance use disorders. Genetic data also have facilitated discovery of clinically relevant subphenotypes also described here. Collectively, GWAS of psychiatric disorders revealed that the understanding of heterogeneity, polygenicity, and pleiotropy is critical to translate genetic findings into treatment strategies.
Project description:Substance use disorders represent a serious public health and social issue worldwide. Recent advances in our understanding of the neurobiological basis of the addictive processes have led to the development of a growing number of pharmacological agents to treat addictions. Despite this progress, there are no approved pharmacological treatments for cocaine, methamphetamine and cannabis addiction. Moving treatment development to the next stage will require novel ways of approaching substance use disorders. One such novel approach is to target individual vulnerabilities, such as cognitive function, sex differences and psychiatric comorbidities. This review provides a summary of promising pharmacotherapies for alcohol, opiate, stimulant and nicotine addictions. Many medications that target positive and negative reinforcement of drugs, as well as individual vulnerabilities to addiction, are in different phases of development. Clinical trials testing the efficacy of these medications for substance use disorder are warranted.
Project description:Genome-wide association (GWA) can elucidate molecular genetic bases for human individual differences in complex phenotypes that include vulnerability to addiction. Here, we review (a) evidence that supports polygenic models with (at least) modest heterogeneity for the genetic architectures of addiction and several related phenotypes; (b) technical and ethical aspects of importance for understanding GWA data, including genotyping in individual samples versus DNA pools, analytic approaches, power estimation, and ethical issues in genotyping individuals with illegal behaviors; (c) the samples and the data that shape our current understanding of the molecular genetics of individual differences in vulnerability to substance dependence and related phenotypes; (d) overlaps between GWA data sets for dependence on different substances; and (e) overlaps between GWA data for addictions versus other heritable, brain-based phenotypes that include bipolar disorder, cognitive ability, frontal lobe brain volume, the ability to successfully quit smoking, neuroticism, and Alzheimer's disease. These convergent results identify potential targets for drugs that might modify addictions and play roles in these other phenotypes. They add to evidence that individual differences in the quality and quantity of brain connections make pleiotropic contributions to individual differences in vulnerability to addictions and to related brain disorders and phenotypes. A "connectivity constellation" of brain phenotypes and disorders appears to receive substantial pathogenic contributions from individual differences in a constellation of genes whose variants provide individual differences in the specification of brain connectivities during development and in adulthood. Heritable brain differences that underlie addiction vulnerability thus lie squarely in the midst of the repertoire of heritable brain differences that underlie vulnerability to other common brain disorders and phenotypes.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Addictions are not restricted to substance-use disorders, and it is now widely recognized that they also include behavioral addictions. Certain individuals with eating disorders also experiment their disorder as an addiction. The objective was to identify typologies of patients presenting with various behavioral addictions or eating disorders according to their evolution within the framework of care, and to specify the factors associated with the differential clinical trajectories. METHODS:We included 302 patients presenting with problem gambling, sexual addiction, compulsive buying, excessive videogame use or eating disorders. The patients completed a multiaxial assessment through a face-to-face structured interview and self-administered questionnaires, including sociodemographic and addiction-related characteristics, psychiatric and addictive comorbidities and several psychological characteristics. The assessment was performed at inclusion and then repeated after 6 and 12 months. The statistical analysis included a combination of growth mixture models and latent class analysis. RESULTS:We identified five classes of patients with different profiles related to their trajectories during a one-year period of specialized care: "complex patients", "patients with impulsive psychological functioning", "patients with cooperative psychological functioning", "patients with immature psychological functioning," and "patients with resilient psychological functioning". CONCLUSIONS:The typology obtained brings interesting findings to propose patient-centered care strategies adapted to these disorders. Because the typology was independent from the type of disorder, it supports the general concept of behavioral addictions, and the similarities between eating disorders and behavioral addictions. The relevance of this model should be further examined in future studies.
Project description:Both polygenicity (many small genetic effects) and confounding biases, such as cryptic relatedness and population stratification, can yield an inflated distribution of test statistics in genome-wide association studies (GWAS). However, current methods cannot distinguish between inflation from a true polygenic signal and bias. We have developed an approach, LD Score regression, that quantifies the contribution of each by examining the relationship between test statistics and linkage disequilibrium (LD). The LD Score regression intercept can be used to estimate a more powerful and accurate correction factor than genomic control. We find strong evidence that polygenicity accounts for the majority of the inflation in test statistics in many GWAS of large sample size.
Project description:Addictions are serious and common psychiatric disorders, and are among the leading contributors to preventable death. This selective review outlines and highlights the need for a multi-method translational approach to genetic studies of these important conditions, including both licit (alcohol, nicotine) and illicit (cannabis, cocaine, opiates) drug addictions and the behavioral addiction of disordered gambling. First, we review existing knowledge from twin studies that indicates both the substantial heritability of substance-specific addictions and the genetic overlap across addiction to different substances. Next, we discuss the limited number of candidate genes which have shown consistent replication, and the implications of emerging genomewide association findings for the genetic architecture of addictions. Finally, we review the utility of extensions to existing methods such as novel phenotyping, including the use of endophenotypes, biomarkers and neuroimaging outcomes; emerging methods for identifying alternative sources of genetic variation and accompanying statistical methodologies to interpret them; the role of gene-environment interplay; and importantly, the potential role of genetic variation in suggesting new alternatives for treatment of addictions.
Project description:Addictions are chronic and common brain disorders affected by many genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors. Recent genome-wide linkage and association studies have revealed several promising genomic regions and multiple genes relating to addictions. To explore the underlying biological processes in the development of addictions, we used 62 genes recently reviewed by Li and Burmeister (2009) as representative addiction-related genes, and then we investigated their features in gene function, pathways, and protein interaction networks. We performed enrichment tests of their Gene Ontology (GO) annotations and of their pathways in the Ingenuity Pathways Analysis (IPA) system. The tests revealed that these addiction-related genes were highly enriched in neurodevelopment-related processes. Interestingly, we found circadian rhythm signaling in one of the enriched pathways. Moreover, these addiction-related genes tended to have higher connectivity and shorter characteristic shortest-path distances compared to control genes in the protein-protein interaction (PPI) network. This investigation is the first of such kind in addiction studies, and it is useful for further addiction candidate-gene prioritization and verification, thus helping us to better understand molecular mechanisms of addictions.
Project description:Drugs of abuse activate the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway. Genetic variations in the dopaminergic system may contribute to drug addiction. Several processes are shared between cocaine and heroin addictions but some neurobiological mechanisms may be specific. This study examined the association of 98 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 13 dopamine-related genes with heroin addiction (OD) and/or cocaine addiction (CD) in a sample of 801 African Americans (315 subjects with OD ± CD, 279 subjects with CD, and 207 controls). Single-marker analyses provided nominally significant evidence for associations of 24 SNPs) in DRD1, ANKK1/DRD2, DRD3, DRD5, DBH, DDC, COMT and CSNK1E. A DRD2 7-SNPs haplotype that includes SNPs rs1075650 and rs2283265, which were shown to alter D2S/D2L splicing, was indicated in both addictions. The Met allele of the functional COMT Val158Met was associated with protection from OD. None of the signals remained significant after correction for multiple testing. The study results are in accordance with the results of previous studies, including our report of association of DRD1 SNP rs5326 with OD. The findings suggest the presence of an overlap in genetic susceptibility for OD and CD, as well as shared and distinct susceptibility for OD in subjects of African and European descent.
Project description:Addictions are prevalent psychiatric disorders that confer remarkable personal and social burden. Despite substantial evidence for their moderate, yet robust, heritability (approx. 50%), specific genetic mechanisms underlying their development and maintenance remain unclear. The goal of this selective review is to highlight progress in unveiling the genetic underpinnings of addiction. First, we revisit the basis for heritable variation in addiction before reviewing the most replicable candidate gene findings and emerging signals from genomewide association studies for alcohol, nicotine and cannabis addictions. Second, we survey the modest but growing field of neurogenetics examining how genetic variation influences corticostriatal structure, function, and connectivity to identify neural mechanisms that may underlie associations between genetic variation and addiction. Third, we outline how extant genomic findings are being used to develop and refine pharmacotherapies. Finally, as sample sizes for genetically informed studies of addiction approach critical mass, we posit five exciting possibilities that may propel further discovery (improved phenotyping, rare variant discovery, gene-environment interplay, epigenetics, and novel neuroimaging designs).
Project description:Background and aims Internet gaming disorder (IGD) has gained recognition as a potential new diagnosis in the fifth revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but genetic evidence supporting this disorder remains scarce. Methods In this study, targeted exome sequencing was conducted in 30 IGD patients and 30 control subjects with a focus on genes linked to various neurotransmitters associated with substance and non-substance addictions, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Results rs2229910 of neurotrophic tyrosine kinase receptor, type 3 (NTRK3) was the only single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) that exhibited a significantly different minor allele frequency in IGD subjects compared to controls (p?=?.01932), suggesting that this SNP has a protective effect against IGD (odds ratio?=?0.1541). The presence of this potentially protective allele was also associated with less time spent on Internet gaming and lower scores on the Young's Internet Addiction Test and Korean Internet Addiction Proneness Scale for Adults. Conclusions The results of this first targeted exome sequencing study of IGD subjects indicate that rs2229910 of NTRK3 is a genetic variant that is significantly related to IGD. These findings may have significant implications for future research investigating the genetics of IGD and other behavioral addictions.