GABRA2 markers moderate the subjective effects of alcohol.
ABSTRACT: Individual differences in subjective responses (SRs) to alcohol are moderated by genetic variants and may be risk factors for the development of alcohol use disorders. Variation in the GABA(A) ?2 receptor subunit gene (GABRA2) has been associated with alcohol dependence (AD). Therefore, we examined whether individual differences in SRs, which reflect sensitivity to the effects of alcohol, are associated with variation in GABRA2. Sixty-nine healthy subjects (21-30 years) underwent a laboratory-based within-session cumulative oral alcohol dosing procedure, achieving a mean peak blood alcohol level of 100.4 mg/dl (standard error = 2.5). Subjective assessments were obtained throughout the session, including ascending and descending limbs of the alcohol curve. We genotyped single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the chromosome 4 region spanning GABRA2 and analyzed the effect of genotype and haplotypes on subjective responses to alcohol. Population substructure was characterized through the use of ancestry informative markers. Individual SNP analysis demonstrated that carriers of the minor alleles for SNPs rs279858, rs279844, rs279845, rs279826, rs279828 and rs279836 had lower 'Negative' alcohol effects scores than individuals homozygous for the common allele at each SNP (P = 0.0060, P = 0.0035, P = 0.0045, P = 0.0043, P = 0.0037 and P = 0.0061, respectively). Haplotype effects of block 1 showed concordant results with SNPs in this block (P = 0.0492 and P = 0.0150 for haplotypes 1 and 4, respectively). The minor alleles for several of these SNPs have previously been associated with AD. Our findings provide further evidence that variation within GABRA2 is associated with attenuated negative responses to alcohol, a known risk factor for vulnerability to alcohol use disorders.
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.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Human twin studies have shown that certain responses to alcohol, including subjective perceptions, are genetically influenced. Previous studies have provided evidence that a low level of response to alcohol predicts future alcohol use disorders in humans. Recent genetic studies suggest an association between alcohol dependence and genetic variation in the ?-aminobutyric acid A (GABA(A)) receptor ?2 subunit gene (GABRA2). Based on a haplotypic association of alcohol dependence with GABRA2, we investigated whether GABRA2 alleles are associated with the subjective responses to clamped alcohol concentration. METHODS:One hundred and ten healthy social drinkers (53 men) underwent the alcohol clamp. Fifteen minutes after the start of an intravenous infusion of alcohol, the breath alcohol concentration was clamped at a target of 50 ± 5 mg/dl for 165 minutes. Subjective physiologic responses to alcohol and stimulant and sedative effects of alcohol were measured repeatedly during the alcohol clamp. Because aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) has been shown to have a great impact on the subjective responses to alcohol, we divided subjects by ALDH2 genotype for further analyses. To examine the role of genetic variation in GABRA2, 7 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that were informative in association studies were included as factors in the analysis. RESULTS:Among these 7 SNPs, 3 SNPs (rs279869, rs279858, and rs279837) located in the middle of the GABRA2 gene showed significant associations with subjective effects of alcohol. Subjects with 1 or 2 copies of the more common allele showed greater subjective responses to alcohol than did individuals homozygous for the alcohol dependence-associated allele regardless of ALDH2 genotype. CONCLUSIONS:These findings confirm and extend the observation that the GABRA2 alleles affect the subjective responses to alcohol, and suggest that the genetic variations in GABRA2 might play a role in the risk of alcohol use disorders by moderating the subjective effects of alcohol.
Project description:Variation in genes encoding GABAA receptor subunits has been implicated in the risk of alcohol dependence (AD). We sought to replicate and extend previous findings of a moderating effect of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in GABRA2 (which encodes the GABAA ?-2 subunit) on the subjective effects of alcohol by examining SNPs in this and the adjacent GABRG1 gene on chromosome 4.Fifty-two European-Americans (22 males, 28 light drinkers and 24 heavy drinkers) completed 3 laboratory sessions, during which they drank low-dose, high-dose, or placebo alcohol prior to undergoing periodic assessments of stimulation, sedation and drug enjoyment. We genotyped subjects for three SNPs previously associated with AD: rs279858 in GABRA2, and rs7654165 and rs6447493 in GABRG1.Two SNPs were associated with altered stimulatory effects of alcohol as measured on the Biphasic Alcohol Effects Scale, (rs279858: P = 0.0046; rs6447493: P = 0.0023); both effects were in the opposite direction of previous findings. Carriers of the rs279858 C allele experienced greater stimulation from alcohol. Further inspection of the rs6447493 interaction did not support a pharmacogenetic effect. The effects of rs279858 (but not the other two SNPs) on items from a secondary outcome measure, the Drug Effects Questionnaire (DEQ), were significant. Higher ratings by individuals with the C allele were observed on the DEQ items 'feel the alcohol effect' (P < 0.001), 'like the alcohol effect' (P < 0.001) and feel 'high' (P < 0.001).We did not find that the GABRG1 SNPs rs7654165 and rs6447493 moderated the effects of alcohol. Greater stimulatory and euphoric effects of alcohol in carriers of the rs279858 C allele may, in part, explain the previously reported association of this allele with AD.
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:The heritable risk for alcohol use disorder (AUD) is expressed partly through alterations in subjective alcohol response. In this study, we investigated the effects of 2 AUD-risk-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms, GABRA2 rs279858 and GRIK1 rs2832407, on the subjective response to alcohol administered intravenously to healthy social drinkers in a laboratory setting.In total, 93 self-identified European American social drinkers underwent 3 blinded laboratory sessions in which they received intravenous infusions of ethanol at 3 target blood alcohol levels (0.00 mg%, 40 mg%, and 100 mg%) using a "clamp" procedure. The self-reported Biphasic Alcohol Effects Scale (BAES) stimulation and sedation subscales were the primary outcome measures. We examined the effects of these 2 genetic variants on subjective response to alcohol.For the BAES stimulation subscale scores, adjusting for age, baseline scores, and time effects, individuals with 2 copies of the GABRA2 rs279858 C "risk" allele for AUD exhibited the greatest stimulant responses to high-dose alcohol compared to the other risk allele counts (dose-by-allele count interaction effect, p = 0.001, post hoc contrast for C-allele, p = 0.012). For the BAES sedation subscale scores, adjusting for the same covariates, we detected a dose-by-allele count interaction effect (p = 0.0044) such that subjects with 2 copies of the GRIK1 C "risk" allele reported the greatest sedative response to the higher alcohol dose.This study suggests that gene variants contributing to the risk for AUD may alter features of the alcohol dose-response relationship in specific ways. GABRA2 rs279858*C enhances stimulant responses to higher levels of alcohol, while the GRIK1 rs2832407*C-allele increases sedative responses. In summary, GRIK1 and GABRA2 variants have distinct effects on the dose-related subjective response to intravenous alcohol in humans.
Project description:A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in GABRA2 (rs279858) may moderate subjective response (SR) to alcohol. Results of studies in non-dependent drinkers examining this GABRA2 SNP on SR have been equivocal. This study examined this SNP's direct and indirect effects on alcohol self-administration in dependent drinkers.The sample consisted of 63 Caucasian, non-treatment-seeking individuals with alcohol dependence. Subjective stimulation was assessed using the Biphasic Alcohol Effects Scale following consumption of an alcoholic priming drink (target breath alcohol content = 0.02?g%). Participants were subsequently offered the opportunity to self-administer up to eight additional drinks.Controlling for baseline stimulation, T-allele homozygotes, relative to individuals with at least one copy of the C-allele, reported greater initial stimulation, t(58) = 2.011, p = 0.049. Greater stimulation predicted greater subsequent alcohol self-administration, t(57) = 2.522, p = 0.015. Although rs279858 genotype did not directly impact self-administration (t(57) = -0.674, p = 0.503), it did have an indirect effect (95% confidence interval [0.068, 1.576]), such that T-allele homozygotes reported greater stimulation, which in turn predicted greater self-administration.These results suggest that the influence of this SNP on SR differs depending on dose or stage of dependence. This study is the first to demonstrate an indirect effect of rs279858 genotype on drinking through SR. Although C-allele carriers have been shown to have an increased risk for alcohol dependence, in our dependent sample, greater stimulation was found among T-allele homozygotes, suggesting that the influence of SR on developing and maintaining dependence differs based on rs279858 genotype.This study demonstrates an indirect effect of rs279858 genotype on drinking through SR. Although C-allele carriers have an increased risk for alcohol dependence, in our dependent sample, greater stimulation was found among T-allele homozygotes, suggesting that the influence of SR on developing dependence differs based on rs279858 genotype.
Project description:Conduct problems, alcohol problems and hyperactive-inattentive symptoms co-occur at a high rate and are heritable in adolescence. The ?-aminobutyric acid A receptor, ?2 gene (GABRA2) is associated with a broad spectrum of externalizing problems and disinhibitory-related traits. The current study tested whether two important forms of disinhibition in adolescence, impulsivity and sensation seeking, mediated the effects of GABRA2 on hyperactive-inattentive symptoms, conduct problems, and alcohol problems. Participants were assessed at two waves (11-17 and 12-18 years old; N = 292). Analyses used the GABRA2 SNP, rs279858, which tags the two complementary (yin-yang) GABRA2 haplotypes. Multiple informants reported on adolescents' impulsivity and sensation seeking and adolescents self-reported their hyperactive-inattentive symptoms, conduct problems and lifetime alcohol problems. Impulsivity mediated the effect of GABRA2 on alcohol problems, hyperactive-inattentive symptoms, and conduct problems, whereas sensation seeking mediated the effect of GABRA2 on alcohol problems (AA/AG genotypes conferred risk). GABRA2 directly predicted adolescent alcohol problems, but the GG genotype conferred risk. Results suggest that there may be multiple pathways of risk from GABRA2 to adolescent externalizing problems, and suggest important avenues for future research.
Project description:Genetic variation in a region of chromosome 4p12 that includes the GABAA subunit gene GABRA2 has been reproducibly associated with alcohol dependence (AD). However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the association are unknown. This study examined correlates of in vitro gene expression of the AD-associated GABRA2 rs279858*C-allele in human neural cells using an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) model system.We examined mRNA expression of chromosome 4p12 GABAA subunit genes (GABRG1, GABRA2, GABRA4, and GABRB1) in 36 human neural cell lines differentiated from iPSCs using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and next-generation RNA sequencing. mRNA expression in adult human brain was examined using the BrainCloud and BRAINEAC data sets.We found significantly lower levels of GABRA2 mRNA in neural cell cultures derived from rs279858*C-allele carriers. Levels of GABRA2 RNA were correlated with those of the other 3 chromosome 4p12 GABAA genes, but not other neural genes. Cluster analysis based on the relative RNA levels of the 4 chromosome 4p12 GABAA genes identified 2 distinct clusters of cell lines, a low-expression cluster associated with rs279858*C-allele carriers and a high-expression cluster enriched for the rs279858*T/T genotype. In contrast, there was no association of genotype with chromosome 4p12 GABAA gene expression in postmortem adult cortex in either the BrainCloud or BRAINEAC data sets.AD-associated variation in GABRA2 is associated with differential expression of the entire cluster of GABAA subunit genes on chromosome 4p12 in human iPSC-derived neural cell cultures. The absence of a parallel effect in postmortem human adult brain samples suggests that AD-associated genotype effects on GABAA expression, although not present in mature cortex, could have effects on regulation of the chromosome 4p12 GABAA cluster during neural development.
Project description: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: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.