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Addiction. 2019 Jun 25. doi: 10.1111/add.14712. [Epub ahead of print]

Polygenic Risk for Alcohol Misuse is Moderated by Romantic Partnerships.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA.
2
Faculty of Business, Karabuk University, Turkey.
3
Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, University of Helsinki, Findland.
4
Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Findland.
5
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington.
6
Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA.
7
Department of Human and Molecular Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS:

Previous twin research suggests relationship status can moderate underlying genetic liability towards alcohol misuse. This paper examined: 1) whether genome-wide polygenic scores (GPS) for alcohol consumption are associated with alcohol misuse; 2) whether these GPS are moderated by romantic relationships (gene-environment interaction; GxE), and 3) whether GxE results are consistent across sex.

DESIGN:

Linear mixed-effects models were used to test associations between genome-wide polygenic scores, relationship status, and alcohol use/misuse.

SETTING:

Finnish twins born between 1983-1987 identified through Finland's central population registry.

PARTICIPANTS:

An intensively studied subset of Finnish Twin Study (FinnTwin12), during the young adult phase (ages 20-26). The analytic sample includes those with complete interview and genetic data (N=1,201, 54% female).

MEASUREMENTS:

Key measurements included involvement in a romantic partnership, drinking frequency, intoxication frequency, and DSM-IV alcohol dependence (AD) symptoms. Genome-wide polygenic scores (GPS) were created from available summary statistics from a large genome-wide association study (GWAS) of drinks per week.

RESULTS:

GPS predicted drinking frequency (b = 0.109; 95% CI = 0.050, 0.168), intoxication frequency (b = 0.111; 95% CI = 0.054, 0.168), and AD symptoms (b = 0.123; 95% CI = 0.064, 0.182). Having a romantic relationship negatively influenced the association between GPS and drinking frequency (b = -0.105; 95% CI = -0.211, -0.001), intoxication frequency (b = -0.118; 95% CI = -0.220, -0.016), and AD symptoms (b = -0.119; 95% CI = -0.229, -0.009). There was a 3-way interaction between sex, relationship status, and GPS for intoxication frequency (b = 0.223; 95% CI = 0.013, 0.433) such that the reduced association between GPS and intoxication frequency for those in a relationship was only apparent in males. We found no evidence of 3-way interactions for drinking frequency or AD symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:

Being in a romantic relationship reduced the association between genetic predisposition and drinking, high risk drinking, and alcohol problems. However, for high risk drinking the protective effect was limited to males, mapping onto earlier findings suggesting that males benefit more from romantic partnerships.

KEYWORDS:

alcohol misuse; gene-environment interaction; polygenic risk scores; romantic partnerships; sex differences; young adulthood

PMID:
31240774
DOI:
10.1111/add.14712

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