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Brain Res. 2009 Dec 11;1305 Suppl:S20-6. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2009.09.054. Epub 2009 Sep 22.

Transcription factor AP2 beta involved in severe female alcoholism.

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, Section for Pharmacology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. niklas.nordquist@neuro.uu.se

Abstract

Susceptibility to alcoholism and antisocial behavior exhibits an evident link to monoaminergic neurotransmission. The serotonin system in particular, which is associated with regulation of mood and behavior, has an influence on personality characters that are firmly connected to risk of developing alcoholism and antisocial behavior, such as impulsiveness, and aggression. The transcription factor TFAP2b has repeatedly been shown to be involved in monoaminergic transmission, likely due to a regulatory effect on genes that are fundamental to this system, e.g. monoamine oxidase type A, and the serotonin transporter. Recent research has identified a functional polymorphism in the gene encoding TFAP2B that regulates its level of expression. In the present study we have compared a sample of female alcoholics (n=107), sentenced to institutional care for their severe addiction, contrasted against a control sample of adolescent females (n=875). The results showed that parental alcohol misuse was significantly more common among the alcoholic females, and also that parental alcohol misuse was associated with a reduction in age of alcohol debut. We also addressed the question of whether a functional TFAP2b polymorphism was associated with alcoholism. Results showed that the high-functioning allele was significantly more common among the female alcoholics, compared to the non-alcoholic controls. Furthermore, the results also indicated that psychosocial factors, in terms of parental alcohol misuse, depression or psychiatric disorder, had an influence on the association. It was observed that the genetic association was restricted to the subset of cases that had not experienced these negative psychosocial factors.

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