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Am J Med Genet. 1999 Oct 15;88(5):458-61.

Association of a functional mu-opioid receptor allele (+118A) with alcohol dependency.

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The Roskamp Institute, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33613, USA.


Genetic association studies have implicated the TaqI A1 allele of the human dopamine D2 receptor gene (DRD2) as a risk-determining factor for alcohol dependency. However, as alcoholism is a disease of polygenic inheritance, the percentage of overall disease variance explained by the TaqI A1 allele is small. In searching for other genetic loci that may, either alone or in combination with DRD2, enhance prediction of alcoholism, we have found a novel association between a functional coding variant (+118A) within the human mu-opioid receptor gene and alcohol dependency. However, no association was detected between the DRD2 TaqI A1 allele and alcoholism in our sample nor did we find synergy between +118A and TaqI A1 alleles on prediction of risk for the disease. These results suggest that, at the molecular level, the endogenous mu-opioid receptor system is a contributing factor to the etiology of alcoholism.

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