GABRG1 and GABRA2 as independent predictors for alcoholism in two populations.
ABSTRACT: The chromosome 4 cluster of GABA(A) receptor genes is predominantly expressed in the brain reward circuitry and this chromosomal region has been implicated in linkage scans for alcoholism. Variation in one chromosome 4 gene, GABRA2, has been robustly associated with alcohol use disorders (AUD) although no functional locus has been identified. As HapMap data reveal moderate long-distance linkage disequilibrium across GABRA2 and the adjacent gene, GABRG1, it is possible that the functional locus is in GABRG1. We genotyped 24 SNPs across GABRG1 and GABRA2 in two population isolates: 547 Finnish Caucasian men (266 alcoholics) and 311 community-derived Plains Indian men and women (181 alcoholics). In both the Plains Indians and the Caucasians: (1) the GABRG1 haplotype block(s) did not extend to GABRA2; (2) GABRG1 haplotypes and SNPs were significantly associated with AUD; (3) there was no association between GABRA2 haplotypes and AUD; (4) there were several common (>or=0.05) haplotypes that spanned GABRG1 and GABRA2 (341 kb), three of which were present in both populations: one of these ancestral haplotypes was associated with AUD, the other two were more common in non-alcoholics; this association was determined by GABRG1; (5) in the Finns, three less common (<0.05) extended haplotypes showed an association with AUD that was determined by GABRA2. Our results suggest that there are likely to be independent, complex contributions from both GABRG1 and GABRA2 to alcoholism vulnerability.
Project description:The GABAAalpha2 receptor gene (GABRA2) modulates anxiety and stress response. Three recent association studies implicate GABRA2 in alcoholism, however in these papers both common, opposite-configuration haplotypes in the region distal to intron3 predict risk. We have now replicated the GABRA2 association with alcoholism in 331 Plains Indian men and women and 461 Finnish Caucasian men. Using a dimensional measure of anxiety, harm avoidance (HA), we also found that the association with alcoholism is mediated, or moderated, by anxiety. Nine SNPs were genotyped revealing two haplotype blocks. Within the previously implicated block 2 region, we identified the two common, opposite-configuration risk haplotypes, A and B. Their frequencies differed markedly in Finns and Plains Indians. In both populations, most block 2 SNPs were significantly associated with alcoholism. The associations were due to increased frequencies of both homozygotes in alcoholics, indicating the possibility of alcoholic subtypes with opposite genotypes. Congruently, there was no significant haplotype association. Using HA as an indicator variable for anxiety, we found haplotype linkage to alcoholism with high and low dimensional anxiety, and to HA itself, in both populations. High HA alcoholics had the highest frequency of the more abundant haplotype (A in Finns, B in Plains Indians); low HA alcoholics had the highest frequency of the less abundant haplotype (B in Finns, A in Plains Indians) (Finns: P = 0.007, OR = 2.1, Plains Indians: P = 0.040, OR = 1.9). Non-alcoholics had intermediate frequencies. Our results suggest that within the distal GABRA2 region is a functional locus or loci that may differ between populations but that alters risk for alcoholism via the mediating action of anxiety.
Project description:Alcoholism is a complex disease with both genetic and environmental risk factors. To identify genes that affect the risk for alcoholism, we systematically ascertained and carefully assessed individuals in families with multiple alcoholics. Linkage and association analyses suggested that a region of chromosome 4p contained genes affecting a quantitative endophenotype, brain oscillations in the beta frequency range (13-28 Hz), and the risk for alcoholism. To identify the individual genes that affect these phenotypes, we performed linkage disequilibrium analyses of 69 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) within a cluster of four GABA(A) receptor genes, GABRG1, GABRA2, GABRA4, and GABRB1, at the center of the linked region. GABA(A) receptors mediate important effects of alcohol and also modulate beta frequencies. Thirty-one SNPs in GABRA2, but only 1 of the 20 SNPs in the flanking genes, showed significant association with alcoholism. Twenty-five of the GABRA2 SNPs, but only one of the SNPs in the flanking genes, were associated with the brain oscillations in the beta frequency. The region of strongest association with alcohol dependence extended from intron 3 past the 3' end of GABRA2; all 43 of the consecutive three-SNP haplotypes in this region of GABRA2 were highly significant. A three-SNP haplotype was associated with alcoholism, with P=.000000022. No coding differences were found between the high-risk and low-risk haplotypes, suggesting that the effect is mediated through gene regulation. The very strong association of GABRA2 with both alcohol dependence and the beta frequency of the electroencephalogram, combined with biological evidence for a role of this gene in both phenotypes, suggest that GABRA2 might influence susceptibility to alcohol dependence by modulating the level of neural excitation.
Project description:GABRG1 and GABRA2, genes that encode the γ1 and α2 subunits, respectively, of the GABA-A receptor, are located in a cluster on chromosome 4p. Association of alcohol dependence (AD) with markers located at the 3' region of GABRA2 has been replicated in several studies, but recent studies suggested the possibility that the signal may be attributable to the adjacent gene, GABRG1, located 90 kb distant in the 3' direction. Owing to strong linkage disequilibrium (LD) in European Americans (EAs), the origin, or origins, of the association signal is very difficult to discern, but our previous population-based study suggested that decreased LD across the GABRG1-GABRA2 region in African Americans (AAs) may be useful for fine mapping and resolution of the association signal in that population.To examine these associations in greater detail, we genotyped 13 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) spanning GABRG1 and GABRA2 in 380 AAs with AD and in 253 AA controls.Although there was no association between any individual SNP and AD, a highly significant difference was shown between AD subjects and controls in the frequency of a 3-SNP GABRA2 haplotype (global p = 0.00029). A similar level of significance was obtained in 6-SNP haplotypes that combined tagging SNPs from both genes (global p = 0.00994). High statistical significance was also shown with a 6-SNP haplotype (T-G-C-G-T-A), p = 0.0033. The T-G-C-G-T-A haplotype contains the most significant GABRA2 3-SNP haplotype (p = 0.00019), G-T-A.These findings reflect the interrelationship between these 2 genes and the likelihood that risk loci exist in each of them. Study of an AA population allowed evaluation of these associations at higher genomic resolution than is possible in a EA population, owing to the much lower LD across these loci in AAs.
Project description:Following an initial report, there have been multiple replications of an association of alcohol dependence (AD) to markers within a haplotype block that includes the 3'-half of the gene encoding the GABA(A) alpha-2 subunit (GABRA2), on chromosome 4p. We examined the intergenic extent of this haplotype block and the association to AD of markers in the adjacent 5' haplotype block in GABRG1, which encodes the GABA(A) receptor gamma-1 subunit. We genotyped 15 single nucleotide polymorphisms in the GABRG1-GABRA2 interval as well as at 34 ancestry informative markers in three samples: 435 AD and 635 screened control subjects from Connecticut and 812 participants from a multicenter AD treatment trial. We observed two large haplotype blocks in the GABRG1-GABRA2 intergenic interval with a region of increased recombination midway between the two genes. Markers in the two haplotype blocks were in moderate linkage disequilibrium. Compared with markers in the GABRA2 haplotype block, markers in the 5' GABRG1 haplotype showed greater allelic, genotypic and haplotypic association with AD in European Americans from both AD samples. Logistic regression analysis indicated that genetic elements in the GABRG1 haplotype block likely contribute to AD risk in an additive manner, whereas those in the GABRA2 haplotype block may act in a dominant manner in relation to risk of AD.
Project description:GABRA2 and GABRG1, which encode the alpha-2 and gamma-1 subunits, respectively, of the GABA(A) receptor, are located in a cluster on chromosome 4p. The GABRA2 locus has been found to be associated with alcohol dependence in several studies, but no functional variant that can account for this association has been identified. To understand the reported associations, we sought to understand the linkage disequilibrium (LD) patterns and haplotype structures of these genes. With close intergenic distance, approximately 90 kb, it was anticipated that some markers might show intergenic LD. Variation in 13-SNP haplotype block structure was observed in five different populations: European American, African American, Chinese (Han and Thai), Thai, and Hmong. In the Hmong, a 280-kb region of considerably higher LD spans the intergenic region, whereas in other populations, there were two or more LD blocks that cross this region. These findings may aid in understanding the genetic association of this locus with alcohol dependence in several populations.
Project description:Heightened reactivity of the incentive-motivation system has been proposed to underlie adolescent-typical risky behaviors, including problem alcohol involvement. However, even in adolescence considerable individual variation in these behaviors exists, which may have genetic underpinnings and be related to variations in risk for later alcohol use disorder (AUD). Variants in GABRA2 have been associated with adult alcohol dependence as well as phenotypic precursors, including impulsiveness and externalizing behaviors. We investigated the impact of GABRA2 on the developmental trajectory of nucleus accumbens (NAcc) activation during anticipation of monetary reward from childhood to young adulthood. Functional MRI during a monetary incentive delay task was collected in 175 participants, with the majority (n = 151) undergoing repeated scanning at 1- to 2-year intervals. One group entered the study at age 8-13 years (n = 76) and another entered at age 18-23 years (n = 99). Most participants were children of alcoholics (79%) and thus at heightened risk for AUD. A total of 473 sessions were completed, covering ages 8-27 years. NAcc activation was heightened during adolescence compared with childhood and young adulthood. GABRA2 genotype (SNP rs279858) was associated with individual differences in NAcc activation specifically during adolescence, with the minor allele (G) associated with greater activation. Furthermore, NAcc activation mediated an effect of genotype on alcohol problems (n = 104). This work demonstrates an impact of GABRA2 genotype on incentive-motivation neurocircuitry in adolescence, with implications for vulnerability to alcoholism. These findings represent an important step toward understanding the genetic and neural basis of individual differences in how risk for addiction unfolds across development.
Project description:The type-A receptors for the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) are ligand-gated chloride channels that mediate postsynaptic inhibition. The functional diversity of these receptors comes from the use of a large repertoire of subunits encoded by separate genes, as well as from differences in subunit composition of individual receptors. In mammals, a majority of GABA(A) receptor subunit genes are located in gene clusters that may be important for their regulated expression and function. We have established a high-resolution physical map of the cluster of genes encoding GABA(A) receptor subunits alpha2 (Gabra2), beta1 (Gabrb1), and gamma(1) (Gabrg1) on mouse chromosome 5. Rat cDNA probes and specific sequence probes for all three GABA(A) receptor subunit genes have been used to initiate the construction of a sequence-ready contig of bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) encompassing this cluster. In the process of contig construction clones from 129/Sv and C57BL/6J BAC libraries were isolated. The assembled 1.3-Mb contig, consisting of 45 BACs, gives five- to sixfold coverage over the gene cluster and provides an average resolution of one marker every 32 kb. A number of BAC insert ends were sequenced, generating 30 new sequence tag sites (STS) in addition to 6 Gabr gene-based and 3 expressed sequence tag (EST)-based markers. STSs from, and surrounding, the Gabrg1-Gabra2-Gabrb1 gene cluster were mapped in the T31 mouse radiation hybrid panel. The integration of the BAC contig with a map of loci ordered by radiation hybrid mapping suggested the most likely genomic orientation of this cluster on mouse chromosome 5: cen-D5Mit151-Gabrg1-Gabra2-Gabrb1-D5Mit58- tel. This established contig will serve as a template for genomic sequencing and for functional analysis of the GABA(A) gene cluster on mouse chromosome 5 and the corresponding region on human chromosome 4.
Project description:Genetic factors, externalizing personality traits such as impulsivity, and brain processing of salient stimuli all can affect individual risk for alcoholism. One of very few confirmed genetic association findings differentiating alcoholics from non-alcoholics is with variants in the inhibitory ?-amino butyric acid ?2 receptor subunit (GABRA2) gene. Here we report the association of two of these GABRA2 variants with measures of alcohol symptoms, impulsivity and with insula cortex activation during anticipation of reward or loss using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In a sample of 173 families (449 subjects), 129 of whom had at least one member diagnosed with alcohol dependence or abuse, carriers for the G allele in two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and haplotypes were more likely to have alcohol dependence symptoms (rs279858, P=0.01; rs279826, P=0.05; haplotype, P=0.02) and higher NEO Personality Inventory-Revised (NEO-PI-R) Impulsiveness scores (rs279858, P=0.016; rs279826, P=0.012; haplotype, P=0.032) with a stronger effect in women (rs279858, P=0.011; rs279826, P=0.002; haplotype, P=0.006), all P-values are corrected for family history and age. A subset of offspring from these families (n=44, 20 females), genotyped for GABRA2, participated in an fMRI study using a monetary incentive delay task. Increased insula activation during reward (r(2)=0.4; P=0.026) and loss (r(2)=0.38; P=0.039) anticipation was correlated with NEO-PI-R Impulsiveness and further associated with the GG genotype for both SNPs (P's<0.04). Our results suggest that GABRA2 genetic variation is associated with Impulsiveness through variation of insula activity responses, here evidenced during anticipatory responses.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Lesch's typology differentiates alcoholics into different treatment response subgroups. The effects of ethanol are mediated, to an important extent, via the GABA-ergic system. MATERIAL AND METHODS:We have evaluated the linkage disequilibrium patterns and haplotype frequencies of GABRG1 and GABRA2 genes in 133 alcoholics divided according to Lesch's typology and in 145 matched controls. RESULTS:Besides several relationships at a threshold of statistical significance, we found no significant differences in the haplotype distribution of these genes between alcoholics and controls. CONCLUSIONS:Lesch's typology may not be related with the genotype of alcoholics - at least in terms of genes with an established role in the development of dependency.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Subjective perceptions of alcohol intoxication are associated with altered risk for alcohol abuse and dependence. Acute adaptation of these perceptions may influence such risk and may involve genes associated with pleasant perceptions or the relief of anxiety. This study assessed the effect of variation in the GABAA receptor genes GABRG1 and GABRA2 and recent drinking history on the acute adaptation of subjective responses to alcohol. METHODS:One hundred and thirty-two nondependent moderate to heavy drinkers, aged 21 to 27, participated in 2 single-blind, counterbalanced sessions, approximately 1 week apart. One session was an intravenous alcohol "clamp," during which breath alcohol concentration was held steady at 60 mg/dl (60 mg%) for 3 hours, and the other an identical session using saline infusion. Subjective perceptions of Intoxication, Enjoyment, Stimulation, Relaxation, Anxiety, Tiredness, and Estimated Number of Drinks were acquired before (baseline), and during the first and final 45 minutes of the clamp. A placebo-adjusted index of the subject's acute adaptation to alcohol was calculated for each of the 7 subjective measures and used in a principal component analysis to create a single aggregate estimate for each subject's adaptive response to alcohol. Analysis of covariance tested whether GABRA2 and GABRG1 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotypes, gender, placebo session, family history of alcoholism, recent drinking history, and the genotype × recent drinking history interaction significantly predicted the adaptive response. RESULTS:Recent drinking history (p = 0.01), and recent drinking history × genotype interaction (p = 0.01) were significantly associated with acute adaptation of the subjective responses to alcohol for the GABRA2 SNP rs279858. CONCLUSIONS:Higher recent drinking was found to be associated with reduced acute tolerance to positive, stimulating effects of alcohol in carriers of the rs279858 risk allele. We postulate that the GABRA2 effect on alcohol dependence may, in part, be due to its effect on subjective responses to alcohol.