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Compr Psychiatry. 2008 Jul-Aug;49(4):387-92. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2008.01.008. Epub 2008 Mar 21.

A preliminary study: novelty seeking, frontal executive function, and dopamine receptor (D2) TaqI A gene polymorphism in patients with methamphetamine dependence.

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  • 1McLean Hospital Brain Imaging Center and Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, MA 02478, USA.



Dopamine receptor polymorphisms have been associated with specific patterns of novelty seeking (NS) temperamental nature and frontal executive function. In addition, carriers of dopamine receptor type 2 (DRD2)-TaqI A1 have been hypothesized to be potentially vulnerable to addictive behaviors. In the present study, the association between dopamine D2 polymorphisms, NS, and frontal executive function was studied.


Thirty-seven methamphetamine (MA)-dependent subjects and 40 healthy comparison subjects participated in the current study. The severity of addiction, NS temperament, and frontal executive functions were measured using the Addiction Severity Index, the NS subscale in the Temperament and Character Inventory, and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, respectively. All subjects were genotyped with regard to DRD2-TaqI polymorphisms.


The prevalence of DRD2-TaqI A1 allele polymorphisms was greater in the MA-abuser group than in the comparison group. Patients with MA dependence also had higher NS characteristics and high scores in total trials, errors, and perseverative errors of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test than comparison subjects. Within patients with MA dependence, the subgroup of DRD2-TaqI A1 carrier had greater NS scores relative to those without, whereas there was only a trend level of lower frontal executive function in the first subgroup.


In the present study, the MA-dependent patients with DRD2-TaqI A1 allele had significantly greater NS scores and lower frontal executive function with a trend level than those without. These preliminary results suggest that MA-dependent patients may have the possibility of genetic and biogenic vulnerability to MA.

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