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J Med Genet. 2008 Sep;45(9):578-82. doi: 10.1136/jmg.2008.057844. Epub 2008 Jun 4.

Bitter taste receptor gene polymorphisms are an important factor in the development of nicotine dependence in African Americans.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville VA 22911, USA.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Bitter sensitivity varies among individuals and ethnic groups partly due to polymorphisms in taste receptor genes (TAS2Rs). Although previous psychophysical studies suggest that taste status plays a role in nicotine dependence (ND), genetic evidence is lacking.

OBJECTIVES:

To determine whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in TAS2R16 and TAS2R38 are associated with ND and if the effects differ by sex and ethnicity.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS:

2037 individuals from 602 nuclear families of African American (AA) or European American (EA) origin were recruited from the US mid-south states during 1999-2004.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

ND was assessed by three measures: indexed Smoking Quantity (SQ), Heaviness of Smoking Index (HSI), and the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND). Peripheral blood samples were obtained for DNA extraction and genotyping.

RESULTS:

The TAS2R38 taster haplotype PAV was inversely associated (p = 0.0165), and the non-taster haplotype AVI was positively associated (p = 0.0120), with SQ in AA smokers. The non-taster haplotype was positively associated with all ND measures in AA female smokers (p = 0.01 approximately 0.003). No significant associations were observed in the EA sample.

CONCLUSIONS:

TAS2R38 polymorphisms are an important factor in determining ND in AAs. Heightened oral sensitivity confers protection against ND. Conversely, decreased sensitivity represents a risk factor for ND, especially in AA females. Together, our findings suggest that taster status plays a role in governing the development of ND and may represent a way to identify individuals at risk for developing ND, particularly in AA smokers.

PMID:
18524836
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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