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Psychiatr Genet. 1999 Mar;9(1):17-21.

Dopamine D3 receptor gene polymorphism and alcohol dependence: relation to personality rating.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Würzburg, Germany.


Hereditary dopaminergic mechanisms have been implicated in the aetiology of alcoholism. For this study, the distribution of a dopamine D3 receptor gene polymorphism (Ball) has been investigated in patients suffering from alcohol dependence, and compared with non-dependent controls. The allele A1 occurred significantly more frequently among patients compared to controls. Patients with the genotype A1/A2 showed significantly higher novelty seeking (NS) scores in the tridimensional personality questionnaire (TPQ) than patients with the genotype A1/A1. The distribution of patients with high and low NS scores in heterozygotes (A1/A2) did not follow a random distribution. There were significantly more individuals with higher NS scores, and fewer individuals with lower NS scores than expected. The results of this study support the hypothesis of a genetically determined involvement of the dopaminergic system in alcohol dependence. This is probably related to the modulation of personality traits. The observed effects are relatively small, but statistically significant. Thus, the genetics of the dopaminergic neurotransmitter system alone cannot explain the aetiopathogenesis of alcoholism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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