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VOLUME 3 , ISSUE 1 ( January-March, 2020 ) > List of Articles


Genetic Polymorphism in Alcohol-dependent Genes: A Review

Umamageswari Arunachalam, Adithan Chandrasekaran

Citation Information : Arunachalam U, Chandrasekaran A. Genetic Polymorphism in Alcohol-dependent Genes: A Review. 2020; 3 (1):10-15.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10082-02260

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 16-10-2020

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2020; The Author(s).


Alcohol dependence (AD) is a complex multifactorial disorder that poses a serious medical and sociological problem. Neurobiology of drug abuse helps us understand the genetic, cellular, and molecular mechanisms that influence transition from occasional, controlled use to loss of control in drug-seeking behavior. Elements of impulsivity and compulsivity yield a composite three-stage addiction cycle mediated by discrete neurocircuits involving the basal ganglia, extended amygdala, and prefrontal cortex. Genetic polymorphisms of the genes encoding alcohol metabolism enzymes and neurotransmitter signaling molecules in dopamine (DA) and opioid systems substantially contribute to individual variations of susceptibility to AD. The primary enzymes involved in alcohol metabolism are alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). Genetic variants of these genes result in acetaldehyde accumulation and hence have a protective effect on the risk of alcoholism. Yet another mutant variant of microsomal enzyme cytochrome P 450 2E1 c2/c2 that is found to be associated with higher transcriptional activity might play a role in the development of AD. Though functional variant 118G allele in exon1 of the μ-opioid receptor (OPRM1) gene has been associated with the development of AD, few clinical studies do not unequivocally support the association. Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter involved in reward mechanism, and the most studied genetic variant of DA D2 receptor (DRD2) gene has been found to be associated with increased AD risk.

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