BDNF SNPs are implicated in comorbid alcohol dependence in schizophrenia but not in alcohol-dependent patients without schizophrenia

Cheah, Sern Yih, Lawford, Bruce, Young, Ross McD., Connor, Jason, Morris, Charles Phillip, & Voisey, Joanne (2014) BDNF SNPs are implicated in comorbid alcohol dependence in schizophrenia but not in alcohol-dependent patients without schizophrenia. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 49(5), pp. 491-497.

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The functional BDNF single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs6265 has been associated with many disorders including schizophrenia and alcohol dependence. However, studies have been inconsistent, reporting both positive and negative associations. Comorbid alcohol dependence has a high prevalence in schizophrenia so we investigated the role of rs6265 in alcohol dependence in Australian populations of schizophrenia and alcohol dependent patients.


Two BDNF SNPs rs6265 and a nearby SNP rs7103411 were genotyped in a total of 848 individuals. These included a schizophrenia group (n = 157) and a second schizophrenia replication group (n = 235), an alcohol dependent group (n = 231) that had no schizophrenia diagnosis and a group of healthy controls (n = 225).


Allelic association between rs7103411 and comorbid alcohol dependence was identified (P = 0.044) in the primary schizophrenia sample. In the replication study, we were able to detect allelic associations between both BDNF SNPs and comorbid alcohol dependence (rs6265, P = 0.006; rs7103411, P = 0.014). Moreover, we detected association between both SNPs and risk-taking behaviour after drinking (rs6265, P = 0.005; rs7103411, P = 0.009) and we detected strong association between both SNPs and alcohol dependence in males (rs6265, P = 0.009; rs7103411, P = 0.013) while females showed association with multiple behavioural measures reflecting repetitive alcohol consumption. Haplotype analysis revealed the rs6265-rs7103411 A/C haplotype is associated with comorbid alcohol dependence (P = 0.002). When these SNPs were tested in the non-schizophrenia alcohol dependent group we were unable to detect association.


We conclude that these BDNF SNPs play a role in development of comorbid alcohol dependence in schizophrenia while our data does not indicate that they play a role in alcohol dependent patients who do not have schizophrenia.

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7 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 75084
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: comorbid alcohol dependence, schizophrenia, BDNF, polymorphism
DOI: 10.1093/alcalc/agu040
ISSN: 0735-0414
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > GENETICS (060400)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 The Author
Copyright Statement: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Alcohol and Alcoholism following peer review. The version of record Sern-Yih Cheah, Bruce R. Lawford, Ross McD. Young, Jason P. Connor, C. Phillip Morris, and Joanne Voisey
BDNF SNPs Are Implicated in Comorbid Alcohol Dependence in Schizophrenia But Not in Alcohol-Dependent Patients Without Schizophrenia
Alcohol and Alcoholism (September/October 2014) 49 (5): 491-497 first published online July 3, 2014 doi:10.1093/alcalc/agu040
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Deposited On: 15 Aug 2014 02:22
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2017 00:25

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