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Hum Genet. 2012 Jun;131(6):843-55. doi: 10.1007/s00439-011-1108-4. Epub 2011 Nov 3.

Genetics of GABAergic signaling in nicotine and alcohol dependence.

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State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, The First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China.


Both nicotine and alcohol addictions are common chronic brain disorders that are of great concern to individuals and society. Although genetics contributes significantly to these disorders, the susceptibility genes and variants underlying them remain largely unknown. Many years of genome-wide linkage and association studies have implicated a number of genes and pathways in the etiology of nicotine and alcohol addictions. In this communication, we focus on current evidence, primarily from human genetic studies, supporting the involvement of genes and variants in the GABAergic signaling system in the etiology of nicotine dependence and alcoholism based on linkage, association, and gene-by-gene interaction studies. Current efforts aim not only to replicate these findings in independent samples, but also to identify which variant contributes to the detected associations and through what molecular mechanisms.

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