Send to

Choose Destination
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Mar 21;103(12):4552-7. Epub 2006 Mar 14.

A dopamine transporter gene functional variant associated with cocaine abuse in a Brazilian sample.

Author information

Medical Research Council Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, Division of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London SE5 8AF, United Kingdom.


The dopamine (DA) transporter DAT1 is a major target bound by cocaine in brain. We examined the influence of functional genetic variants in DAT1 on cocaine addiction. Repeat polymorphisms, including a 30-bp variable-number tandem repeat (VNTR) in intron 8 (Int8 VNTR) with two common alleles, were genotyped in cocaine-dependent abusers (n = 699) and in controls with no past history of drug abuse (n = 866) from São Paulo, Brazil. Positive association was observed with allele 3 of the Int8 VNTR and cocaine abuse (allele odds ratio = 1.2, 95% confidence interval = 1.01-1.37, P = 0.036; 3/3 homozygote odds ratio = 1.45, 95% confidence interval = 1.18-1.78, P = 0.0008). Population stratification was assessed and did not affect the results. Haplotypic analyses using additional polymorphisms indicated that the Int8 VNTR is responsible for the observed association. Functional analyses in reporter-gene constructs, demonstrated that allele 3 mediates significant (P < 0.05) but small reduced expression compared with the "protective" allele 2. This difference increased when 1 and 10 muM cocaine was added to the cell culture ( approximately 40% reduction of the 3 allele expression versus the 2 allele). The 3 allele also demonstrated approximately 3-fold-increased expression over the 2 allele in response to KCl plus forskolin challenge. We demonstrate a robust association between cocaine dependence and a VNTR allele in SLC6A3, conferring a small but detectable effect, and we show that this VNTR may be functional. This study suggests that DAT1 gene variation may play a role in cocaine dependence etiology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center