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Hum Genet. 2014 Jul;133(7):905-18. doi: 10.1007/s00439-014-1431-7. Epub 2014 Mar 4.

Association and interaction analyses of 5-HT3 receptor and serotonin transporter genes with alcohol, cocaine, and nicotine dependence using the SAGE data.

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Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia, 450 Ray C. Hunt Drive, Charlottesville, VA, 22903, USA.


Previous studies have implicated genes encoding the 5-HT3AB receptors (HTR3A and HTR3B) and the serotonin transporter (SLC6A4), both independently and interactively, in alcohol (AD), cocaine (CD), and nicotine dependence (ND). However, whether these genetic effects also exist in subjects with comorbidities remains largely unknown. We used 1,136 African-American (AA) and 2,428 European-American (EA) subjects from the Study of Addiction: Genetics and Environment (SAGE) to determine associations between 88 genotyped or imputed variants within HTR3A, HTR3B, and SLC6A4 and three types of addictions, which were measured by DSM-IV diagnoses of AD, CD, and ND and the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND), an independent measure of ND commonly used in tobacco research. Individual SNP-based association analysis revealed a significant association of rs2066713 in SLC6A4 with FTND in AA (β = -1.39; P = 1.6E - 04). Haplotype-based association analysis found one major haplotype formed by SNPs rs3891484 and rs3758987 in HTR3B that was significantly associated with AD in the AA sample, and another major haplotype T-T-G, formed by SNPs rs7118530, rs12221649, and rs2085421 in HTR3A, which showed significant association with FTND in the EA sample. Considering the biologic roles of the three genes and their functional relations, we used the GPU-based Generalized Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction (GMDR-GPU) program to test SNP-by-SNP interactions within the three genes and discovered two- to five-variant models that have significant impacts on AD, CD, ND, or FTND. Interestingly, most of the SNPs included in the genetic interaction model(s) for each addictive phenotype are either overlapped or in high linkage disequilibrium for both AA and EA samples, suggesting these detected variants in HTR3A, HTR3B, and SLC6A4 are interactively contributing to etiology of the three addictive phenotypes examined in this study.

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