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Alcohol Alcohol. 1994 Nov;29(6):729-44.

D2 dopamine receptor TaqI A alleles in medically ill alcoholic and nonalcoholic patients.

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Alcohol Research Center, Neuropsychiatric Institute, University of California, Los Angeles 90024.


The prevalence of TaqI A alleles of the D2 dopamine receptor (DRD2) gene was examined in two subgroups of medically ill nonalcoholics (more prevalent and less prevalent substance users, MPSU and LPSU, respectively) and in two subgroups of medically ill alcoholics (more severe and less severe alcoholics, MSA and LSA, respectively). The prevalence of the A1 allele in the 80 nonalcoholic and 73 alcoholic patients was 30.0% and 52.1%, respectively (P = 0.009). In the four subgroups of these patients, the prevalence of this allele was: LPSU = 18.2%, MPSU = 34.5%, LSA = 44.4% and MSA = 58.3%. Linear trend analysis showed that as the use of substances and severity of alcoholism increase, so does A1 prevalence (P = 0.001). Specific, subgroup comparisons showed A1 prevalence in MSA to be about 3-fold (P = 0.007) and 1.5-fold (P = 0.04) higher than in LPSU and MPSU subgroups, respectively. Similarly, in a combined analysis of independent studies, A1 prevalence in MSA was higher when compared to LSA (P < 5 x 10(-3), MPSU (P < 10(-4) and LPSU (P < 10(-8) subgroups. There was virtually no difference in the prevalence of the A1 allele between LSA and MPSU subgroups. None of the specific medical or neuropsychiatric complications of alcoholism was associated with the A1 allele. In conclusion, the severity of alcohol dependence in alcoholics and of substance use behaviors in controls are important variables in DRD2 allelic association. The present report and converging lines of evidence suggest that the DRD2 locus could represent a prominent gene risk factor for susceptibility to severe alcoholism. However, other genes and environmental factors, when combined, still play the larger role.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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