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Psychiatr Genet. 2012 Jun;22(3):141-5. doi: 10.1097/YPG.0b013e3283539528.

Association study of the β-arrestin 2 gene (ARRB2) with opioid and cocaine dependence in a European-American population.

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  • 1Translational Research Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, University of Pennsylvania, 125 S. 31st St, School of Medicine, Rm. 2109, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


The rewarding properties of drugs of abuse are mediated by the mu-opioid receptor (MOR). Genetic variations in MOR and MOR interacting proteins (MORIPs) involved in MOR signaling may increase the risk for drug dependence. The MORIP β-arrestin plays an important role in the regulation of MOR trafficking, thereby highlighting it as a candidate gene for addiction phenotypes. In this case-control association study, DNA samples from cocaine-dependent (n=336) and opioid-dependent (n=335) patients and controls (n=656) were genotyped for seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (rs11868227, rs3786047, rs4522461, rs1045280, rs2271167, rs2036657, and rs4790694) across ARRB2, the gene encoding the β-arrestin 2 protein. No significant differences were observed in genotype or allele frequency between drug-dependent and control individuals for any of the single nucleotide polymorphisms analyzed. Haplotype analysis was similarly negative. Further studies are needed to determine whether variations in ARRB2 (or other MORIPs) are relevant to cocaine or opioid dependence in different ethnic populations or whether they confer a risk that is specific to dependence on other drugs of abuse.

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