RxPG News Feed for RxPG News

Medical Research Health Special Topics World
 Asian Health
 Food & Nutrition
 Men's Health
 Mental Health
 Occupational Health
 Public Health
 Sleep Hygiene
 Women's Health
 Canada Healthcare
 China Healthcare
 India Healthcare
 New Zealand
 South Africa
 World Healthcare
   Latest Research
 Alternative Medicine
 Clinical Trials
 Infectious Diseases
  Anorexia Nervosa
  Child Psychiatry
  Forensic Psychiatry
  Mood Disorders
  Peri-Natal Psychiatry
  Personality Disorders
  Sleep Disorders
  Substance Abuse
 Sports Medicine
   Medical News
 Awards & Prizes
   Special Topics
 Odd Medical News

Last Updated: Oct 11, 2012 - 10:22:56 PM
Research Article
Alcohol Channel

subscribe to Alcohol newsletter
Latest Research : Psychiatry : Substance Abuse : Alcohol

   EMAIL   |   PRINT
Genetics may increase propensity for alcoholism

Feb 3, 2009 - 11:21:01 PM , Reviewed by: Dr. Sanjukta Acharya

[RxPG] In Poland, alcohol dependence (AD) affects about four percent of the population, causing about 10,000 deaths per year. While a number of biological markers have been linked to a predisposition for developing AD, a new study has found a link between the Val66Met (rs6265) polymorphism in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene and risk for post-treatment relapse among AD patients.

Results will be published in the April issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

"Some people are simply more likely than others to become dependent on alcohol," explained Marcin Wojnar, associate professor of psychiatry at the Medical University of Warsaw and adjunct researcher at the University of Michigan. "Clearly, cultural, social, and psychological factors are involved. AD also runs in families, so there is an inherited component to it. Once AD has developed, certain people are more likely to relapse after treatment than others. Some studies show that a family history of alcoholism can lead to a more severe illness that is harder to treat, which is why our group and others are looking at genetic factors."

"Although some biological predictors of the re-emergence of AD have been described," said Lance Bauer, professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, "biological measures can be affected by many variables, such as the time of day; the patient's gender, age, or medical background; or medications that have been prescribed. Most genetic differences are not complicated by these same variables. Accordingly, this study by Wojnar and colleagues points us toward a new and promising approach."

"We selected genetic polymorphisms that were, one, related to serotonin or dopamine function; and two, associated with suicidality and/or impulsivity," said Wojnar, who is the study's first author. "Serotonin's decreased functioning has consistently been reported to be associated with both impulsivity and suicidal behaviors. Regarding dopamine, most researchers agree that it plays an essential role in addiction, either by causing pleasure from taking drugs or by telling the brain to associate that pleasure with certain cues in the environment."

The researchers examined 154 patients (117 males, 37 females) from addiction-treatment programs in Poland who met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition criteria for AD. All were assessed for demographics, severity of alcohol use, suicidality, impulsivity, depression, hopelessness, and severity of alcohol use at baseline; 123 patients were followed for approximately one year to evaluate treatment outcomes. In addition, patients were tested for genetic polymorphisms in several genes as predictors of relapse – defined as "any drinking during follow-up" – which were: rs1386483 in the tryptophan hydroxylase type 2 gene, C102T (rs6313) in the serotonin receptor 2A gene, 5-HTT gene-linked polymorphic region in locus SLC6A4, C(-1019)G (rs6295) in the serotonin receptor 1A gene, Val158Met (rs4680) in the catechol-O-methyl transferase gene, and the Val66Met (rs6265) in the BDNF gene.

"Our study indicated that some patients may have inherited a tendency to return to drinking even after intensive treatment," said Wojnar, "and [may be] more treatment-resistant than other patients. Specifically, we found that a particular type or variant of the gene that codes for BDNF was associated with an increased risk for relapse in alcoholic patients, particularly those with a family history of AD." BDNF is a protein found in the brain that helps nerve cells survive and connect to one another.

"These findings provide further support for the assertion that alcoholic patients are not all alike," said Bauer. "Some possess genetic propensities which … may motivate or promote risk for alcoholism as well as risk for treatment failure."

"These patients may have special difficulty in responding well to currently available treatments because of their biological makeup," added Wojnar, "and therefore may need newly constructed intensive programs of therapy that are preferably individualized. This might be a step forward towards 'personalized medicine.'"

Bauer agreed. "During the past 10 years, several new treatments have become available," he said. "However, 'how does one decide among the options?' Genetic differences may eventually help us make the decision. For example, individuals possessing the high-risk-for-relapse variant of the BDNF gene might warrant assignment to the most intensive – and usually most expensive – treatment. Individuals with the low-risk variant might not require this level of treatment to have a good outcome."

Publication: Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research

Funding information and declaration of competing interests: The study was funded by the Fogarty International Center, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

Advertise in this space for $10 per month. Contact us today.

Related Alcohol News
Genetics may increase propensity for alcoholism
Gene mutation in worms key to alcohol tolerance
Researchers identify alcoholism subtypes
Women drinkers could face more depression
Orexin reinforces the euphoria felt when drinking alcohol
DNA highly-promising predictor for successful treatment of alcoholics
Nicotine may actually reduce blood alcohol concentrations
Alcoholics' deficits in smell are linked to frontal lobe dysfunction
Asp carriers of the OPRM1 gene taking naltrexone have increased urge to drink
Early Drinking Linked to Risk of Alcohol Dependence

Subscribe to Alcohol Newsletter

Enter your email address:

 About Dr. Sanjukta Acharya
This news story has been reviewed by Dr. Sanjukta Acharya before its publication on RxPG News website. Dr. Sanjukta Acharya, MBBS MRCP is the chief editor for RxPG News website. She oversees all the medical news submissions and manages the medicine section of the website. She has a special interest in nephrology. She can be reached for corrections and feedback at [email protected]
RxPG News is committed to promotion and implementation of Evidence Based Medical Journalism in all channels of mass media including internet.
 Additional information about the news article
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research (ACER) is the official journal of the Research Society on Alcoholism and the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism. Co-authors of the ACER paper, "Association between Val66Met Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) Gene Polymorphism and Post-Treatment Relapse in Alcohol Dependence," were: Kirk J. Brower and Stephen Strobbe of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan; Mark Ilgen of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan and Health Services Research & Development at the Department of Veterans Affairs; Halina Matsumoto and Izabela Nowosad of the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical University of Warsaw, Poland; Elzbieta Sliwerska of the Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute at the University of Michigan; and Margit Burmeister of the Department of Psychiatry, and the Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, at the University of Michigan.
For any corrections of factual information, to contact the editors or to send any medical news or health news press releases, use feedback form

Top of Page

Contact us

RxPG Online



    Full Text RSS

© All rights reserved by RxPG Medical Solutions Private Limited (India)