Alcohol dependence is a serious psychiatric disorder with harmful physical, mental and social consequences. In 2012, about 3.3 million deaths, or 5.9% of all global deaths, and 5.1% of the global burden of disease and injury, were attributable to alcohol consumption.
Our genetic variation is what makes us all unique, whether in terms of physical characteristics or predisposition to disease.
Among other factors, genetic variation is an important determinant of alcohol dependence and its identification holds the potential to early management and reduction of the disease burden.
There are several attractive gene candidates for the study of the genetic background of alcohol dependence, such as genes of dopaminergic system that has a dominant role in mediating alcohol reward properties, as well as genes in components involved in other neurotransmitter systems, such as the opioid and glutaminergic systems. Additionally, the reinforcing effects of alcohol are mediated through complex interactions between multiple neurochemical systems, therefore carriage of multiple genetic variations or gene interactions could potentially modulate alcohol consumption and alcohol-dependent behavior.
In a recent study from the journal Drug Metabolism and Personalized Therapy, researchers investigated whether the dopaminergic system DRD2 TaqIA, DRD3 Ser9Gly and DβH −1021C > T, opioid system OPRM1 A118G and glutaminergic system GRIK1 rs2832407C > A genetic variations are associated, alone or in combination, with alcohol dependence. For all analyzed genes, the authors found no differences in their variation distribution between alcohol-dependent patients and controls.
Additionally, no interactions of genetic variations that may predispose an individual to alcohol dependence were present in the study population. Despite the absence of association of the studied genes with alcohol dependence that could be attributed to study limitations such as the low number of participants, the concept of the present study is sound, therefore, a larger sample is possibly needed to show an association.
To address the complexity of genetics of alcohol dependence, studies should focus on and implement in their methodology the study of multiple genetic variations or gene interactions that potentially modulate alcohol consumption and alcohol-dependent behavior.
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Georgia Ragia, Ivan Veresies, Louiza Veresie, Kyriakos Veresies, Vangelis G. Manolopoulos: Association study of DRD2 A2/A1, DRD3 Ser9Gly, DβH −1021C>T, OPRM1 A118G and GRIK1 rs2832407C>A polymorphisms with alcohol dependence. 22.07.2016