Alcohol-related expectancies are associated with the D2 dopamine receptor and GABAA receptor beta3 subunit genes
Young, Ross McD., Lawford, Bruce R., Feeney, Gerald F.X., Ritchie, Terry, & Noble, Ernest P. (2004) Alcohol-related expectancies are associated with the D2 dopamine receptor and GABAA receptor beta3 subunit genes. Psychiatry Research, 127(3), pp. 171-183.
Molecular genetic research has identified promising markers of alcohol dependence, including alleles of the D2 dopamine receptor (DRD2) and the GABAA receptor ￢3 subunit (GABRB3) genes. Whether such genetic risk manifests itself in stronger alcohol-related outcome expectancies, or in difficulty resisting alcohol, is unknown. In the present study, A1+ (A1A1 and A1A2 genotypes) and A1- (A2A2 genotype) alleles of the DRD2 and G1+ (G1G1 and G1 non-G1 genotypes) and G1- (non-G1 non-G1 genotype) alleles of the GABRB3 were determined in a group of 56 medically-ill patients diagnosed with alcohol dependence. Mood-related Alcohol Expectancy (AE) and Drinking Refusal Self-Efficacy (DRSE) were assessed using the Drinking Expectancy Profile (Young and Oei, 1996). Patients with the DRD2 A1+ allele, compared to those with the DRD2 A1- allele, reported lower DRSE in situations of social pressure (p=. 009). Similarly, lower DRSE was reported under social pressure by patients with the GABRB3 G1+ allele when compared to those with the GABRB3 G1- allele (p=.027). Patients with the GABRB3 G1+ allele also revealed reduced DRSE in situations characterized by negative affect than patients with the GABRB3 G1- alleles (p=. 037). Patients carrying the GABRB3 G1+ allele showed stronger AE relating to negative affective change (for example, increased depression) than their GABRB3 G1- counterparts (p=. 006). Biological influence in the development of some classes of cognitions is hypothesized. The clinical implications, particularly with regard to patient-treatment matching and the development of an integrated psychological and pharmacogenetic approach are discussed.
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