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Pharmacogenomics. 2014 Feb;15(2):221-34. doi: 10.2217/pgs.13.246.

Pharmacogenetics of nicotine addiction: role of dopamine.

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Yale University, School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry & VA Connecticut Healthcare System, VA Medical Center, 950 Campbell Avenue, West Haven, CT 06516, USA.


The neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) plays a central role in addictive disorders, including nicotine addiction. Specific DA-related gene variants have been studied to identify responsiveness to treatment for nicotine addiction. Genetic variants in DRD2, DRD4, ANKK1, DAT1, COMT and DBH genes show some promise in informing personalized prescribing of smoking cessation pharmacotherapies. However, many trials studying these variants had small samples, used retrospective design or were composed of mainly self-identified Caucasian individuals. Furthermore, many of these studies lacked a comprehensive measurement of nicotine metabolism rate, did not assess the roles of sex or the menstrual cycle, and did not investigate the role of rare variants and/or epigenetic factors. Future work should be conducted addressing these limitations to more effectively utilize DA genetic information to unlock the potential of smoking cessation pharmacogenetics.

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