ABSTRACT: Alcohol is widely consumed; however, excessive use creates serious physical, psychological and social problems and contributes to the pathogenesis of many diseases. Alcohol use disorders (that is, alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse) are maladaptive patterns of excessive drinking that lead to serious problems. Abundant evidence indicates that alcohol dependence (alcoholism) is a complex genetic disease, with variations in a large number of genes affecting a person's risk of alcoholism. Some of these genes have been identified, including two genes involved in the metabolism of alcohol (ADH1B and ALDH2) that have the strongest known affects on the risk of alcoholism. Studies continue to reveal other genes in which variants affect the risk of alcoholism or related traits, including GABRA2, CHRM2, KCNJ6 and AUTS2. As more variants are analysed and studies are combined for meta-analysis to achieve increased sample sizes, an improved picture of the many genes and pathways that affect the risk of alcoholism will be possible.
Project description:Maximum number of alcoholic drinks consumed in a 24-h period (maxdrinks) is a heritable (>50 %) trait and is strongly correlated with vulnerability to excessive alcohol consumption and subsequent alcohol dependence (AD). Several genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have studied alcohol dependence, but few have concentrated on excessive alcohol consumption. We performed two GWAS using maxdrinks as an excessive alcohol consumption phenotype: one in 118 extended families (N = 2,322) selected from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA), and the other in a case-control sample (N = 2,593) derived from the Study of Addiction: Genes and Environment (SAGE). The strongest association in the COGA families was detected with rs9523562 (p = 2.1 × 10(-6)) located in an intergenic region on chromosome 13q31.1; the strongest association in the SAGE dataset was with rs67666182 (p = 7.1 × 10(-7)), located in an intergenic region on chromosome 8. We also performed a meta-analysis with these two GWAS and demonstrated evidence of association in both datasets for the LMO1 (p = 7.2 × 10(-7)) and PLCL1 genes (p = 4.1 × 10(-6)) with maxdrinks. A variant in AUTS2 and variants in INADL, C15orf32 and HIP1 that were associated with measures of alcohol consumption in a meta-analysis of GWAS studies and a GWAS of alcohol consumption factor score also showed nominal association in the current meta-analysis. The present study has identified several loci that warrant further examination in independent samples. Among the top SNPs in each of the dataset (p ? 10(-4)) far more showed the same direction of effect in the other dataset than would be expected by chance (p = 2 × 10(-3), 3 × 10(-6)), suggesting that there are true signals among these top SNPs, even though no SNP reached genome-wide levels of significance.
Project description:Excessive alcohol consumption is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the United States. Approximately 14% of those who use alcohol meet criteria during their lifetime for alcohol dependence, which is characterized by tolerance, withdrawal, inability to stop drinking, and continued drinking despite serious psychological or physiological problems. We explored genetic influences on alcohol dependence among 1,897 European-American and African-American subjects with alcohol dependence compared with 1,932 unrelated, alcohol-exposed, nondependent controls. Constitutional DNA of each subject was genotyped using the Illumina 1M beadchip. Fifteen SNPs yielded P < 10(-5), but in two independent replication series, no SNP passed a replication threshold of P < 0.05. Candidate gene GABRA2, which encodes the GABA receptor alpha2 subunit, was evaluated independently. Five SNPs at GABRA2 yielded nominal (uncorrected) P < 0.05, with odds ratios between 1.11 and 1.16. Further dissection of the alcoholism phenotype, to disentangle the influence of comorbid substance-use disorders, will be a next step in identifying genetic variants associated with alcohol dependence.
Project description:Alcohol abuse and dependence have proven to be complex genetic traits that are influenced by environmental factors. Primate and human studies have shown that early life stress increases the propensity for alcohol abuse in later life. The reinforcing properties of alcohol are mediated by dopaminergic signaling; however, there is little evidence to indicate how stress alters alcohol reinforcement. KCNJ6 (the gene encoding G-protein-coupled inwardly rectifying potassium channel 2 (GIRK2)) is a brain expressed potassium channel with inhibitory effects on dopaminergic tone. The properties of GIRK2 have been shown to be enhanced by the stress peptide corticotrophin-releasing hormone. Therefore, we sought to examine the role of KCNJ6 polymorphisms in adult alcohol dependence and stress-related alcohol abuse in adolescents. We selected 11 SNPs in the promoter region of KCNJ6, which were genotyped in 1152 adult alcohol dependents and 1203 controls. One SNP, rs2836016, was found to be associated with alcohol dependence (p=0.01, false discovery rate). We then assessed rs2836016 in an adolescent sample of 261 subjects, which were characterized for early life stress and adolescent hazardous drinking, defined using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), to examine gene-environment interactions. In the adolescent sample, the risk genotype of rs2836016 was significantly associated with increased AUDIT scores, but only in those individuals exposed to high levels of psychosocial stress in early life (p=0.01). Our findings show that KCNJ6 is associated with alcohol dependence and may moderate the effect of early psychosocial stress on risky alcohol drinking in adolescents. We have identified a candidate gene for future studies investigating a possible functional link between the response to stress and alcohol reinforcement.
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:Event-related oscillations (EROs) represent highly heritable neuroelectric correlates of cognitive processes that manifest deficits in alcoholics and in offspring at high risk to develop alcoholism. Theta ERO to targets in the visual oddball task has been shown to be an endophenotype for alcoholism. A family-based genome-wide association study was performed for the frontal theta ERO phenotype using 634 583 autosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) genotyped in 1560 family members from 117 families densely affected by alcohol use disorders, recruited in the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism. Genome-wide significant association was found with several SNPs on chromosome 21 in KCNJ6 (a potassium inward rectifier channel; KIR3.2/GIRK2), with the most significant SNP at P = 4.7 × 10(-10)). The same SNPs were also associated with EROs from central and parietal electrodes, but with less significance, suggesting that the association is frontally focused. One imputed synonymous SNP in exon four, highly correlated with our top three SNPs, was significantly associated with the frontal theta ERO phenotype. These results suggest KCNJ6 or its product GIRK2 account for some of the variations in frontal theta band oscillations. GIRK2 receptor activation contributes to slow inhibitory postsynaptic potentials that modulate neuronal excitability, and therefore influence neuronal networks.
Project description:Researchers are using various strategies to identify the genes that may be associated with alcoholism. The initial efforts primarily relied on candidate gene and linkage studies; more recently, however, modern advances in genotyping have resulted in widespread use of genome-wide association studies for alcohol dependence. The key findings of the earlier studies were that variations (i.e., polymorphisms) in the DNA sequences of the genes encoding alcohol dehydrogenase 1B (i.e., the ADH1B gene), aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (i.e., the ALDH2 gene), and other alcohol-metabolizing enzymes mediate the risk for alcoholism; moreover, these polymorphisms also have an impact on the risk of alcohol-related cancers, such as esophageal cancer. In addition, a gene encoding one of the receptors for the neurotransmitter ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA) known as GABRA2 seems to have a role in the development of alcohol dependence. Genome-wide association studies now offer a host of emerging opportunities, as well as challenges, for discovering the genetic etiology of alcohol dependence and for unveiling new treatment strategies.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Koreans have higher rates of alcohol-use disorders and family history of alcoholism, compared with Chinese. These differences likely reflect both environmental and genetic influences. One genetically influenced characteristic that may contribute to these ethnic differences is level of response to alcohol. Variant alleles of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) and alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH1B) genes are prevalent in individuals of Asian heritage and have been associated with an increased level of response to alcohol and a decreased risk for alcohol dependence. Additionally, a low level of response to alcohol is more common in individuals with a first-degree family history of alcoholism and is predictive of increased risk for this disorder. It also is possible that sociocultural factors have an impact on an individual's response to alcohol. The current study examined self-report level of response to alcohol, ALDH2 and ADH1B, country of origin, and family history of alcoholism in 154 Chinese- and 181 Korean-American college students. METHOD:Participants were evaluated via in-person interviews and genotyped at the ALDH2 and ADH1B loci. RESULTS:Ethnicity was significantly related to level of response to alcohol, with Koreans having a lower self-reported level of response than Chinese. This relationship remained significant after considering the effects of gender, height, weight, quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption (over the previous 90 days), ALDH2 genotype, ADH1B genotype, country of origin, and first-degree family history of alcohol dependence. CONCLUSIONS:The results suggest that a low level of response to alcohol may contribute to the increased risk for alcohol abuse and dependence found in Koreans, relative to Chinese. More research is needed to determine additional factors that may be contributing to the low alcohol response and high rates of alcoholism in Koreans.
Project description:Alcohol dependence is a chronic relapsing disorder characterized by neuroadaptations that may result in the emergence of negative affective states and stress responses upon discontinuation of alcohol use. Clinical studies have demonstrated that alcohol-dependent people are more sensitive to relapse provoking cues such as alcohol, negative affect, and stress. Moreover, stress relief during protracted abstinence is thought to be a major motivation for excessive alcohol consumption. The relationship between chronic alcohol use, stress, and relapse has implications for the treatment of alcohol dependence. Recent research suggests that neural systems mediating stress responses may offer useful targets for pharmacotherapy of alcoholism.
Project description:Discrete time survival analysis was used to assess the age-specific association of event-related oscillations (EROs) and CHRM2 gene variants on the onset of regular alcohol use and alcohol dependence. The subjects were 2,938 adolescents and young adults ages 12-25. Results showed that the CHRM2 gene variants and ERO risk factors had hazards which varied considerably with age. The bulk of the significant age-specific associations occurred in those whose age of onset was under 16. These associations were concentrated in those subjects who at some time took an illicit drug. These results are consistent with studies which associate greater rates of alcohol dependence among those who begin drinking at an early age. The age specificity of the genetic and neurophysiological factors is consistent with recent studies of adolescent brain development, which locate an interval of heightened vulnerability to substance use disorders in the early to mid teens.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Several theoretical typology models have been proposed to classify alcoholism into more homogeneous subtypes using various criteria, for which age at onset of alcohol dependence is shared across many models. We investigated the evidence for the distinction between early- versus late-onset alcoholism by examining relevant phenotypic and genotypic variables. METHOD:Data are from 1,248 individuals with alcohol dependence, who were interviewed to collect detailed clinical information. Early versus late onset of alcohol dependence was defined by the age at onset of 22 years. Odds ratio (OR) and Cohen's d were calculated as effect size for comparisons of clinical features between the two groups. We adjusted interviewed age and gender in logistic regression models. Case-control genetic analyses were conducted for the association between HTR1B, SLC6A4, DRD2, and OPR?1 genes and subgroups of alcohol dependence using a sample of 530 controls screened for alcohol problems. RESULTS:Early-onset alcoholism exhibited significantly (p < .01) different clinical characteristics from late-onset alcoholism, including higher severity in alcohol dependence symptoms (d = 0.22) and maximum drinking quantity within 24 hours (d = 0.40), more rapid progression from regular drinking to meet alcohol dependence diagnosis (d = 1.73), higher expectancies for alcohol (d = 0.22-0.47), more comorbidity with externalizing disorders (ORs = 2.8-2.9), and greater prevalence of family alcohol use problems (d = 0.26-0.43). In addition, markers in the HTR1B and OPR?1 genes showed genetic associations with subgroups of alcohol dependence (ORs = 1.5-2.4). CONCLUSIONS:Our findings support that subgroups of alcohol dependence defined by onset age have phenotypic and genetic differences. The early-onset subgroup had more severe features for almost every aspect we examined. Coupled with genetic association findings, age at onset of alcohol dependence may serve as a simple but important clinical marker with implications for future etiological research and intervention.