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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2005 Feb;30(2):417-22.

Increased attributable risk related to a functional mu-opioid receptor gene polymorphism in association with alcohol dependence in central Sweden.

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  • 1The Laboratory of the Biology of Addictive Diseases, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


The mu-opioid receptor (MOR), through its effects on reward and stress-responsivity, modulates alcohol intake in both animal and human laboratory studies. We have previously demonstrated that the frequently occurring A118G single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in exon 1 of the MORgene (OPRM1), which encodes an amino-acid substitution, is functional and receptors encoded by the variant 118G allele bind the endogenous opioid peptide beta-endorphin with three-fold greater affinity than prototype receptors. Other groups subsequently reported that this variant alters stress-responsivity in normal volunteers and also increases the therapeutic response to naltrexone (a mu-preferring opioid antagonist) in the treatment of alcohol dependence. We compared frequencies of genotypes containing an 118G allele in 389 alcohol-dependent individuals and 170 population-based controls without drug or alcohol abuse or dependence. The A118G SNP was present in the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium with an overall frequency of the 118G allele of 10.9%. There was a significant overall association between genotypes with an 118G allele and alcohol dependence (p=0.0074). The attributable risk for alcohol dependence in subjects with an 118G allele was 11.1%. There was no difference in A118G genotype between type 1 and type 2 alcoholics. In central Sweden, the functional variant 118G allele in exon 1 of OPRM1 is associated with an increased attributable risk for alcohol dependence.

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