Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genes Play Important Role In Risk For Dependence On Illicit And Licit Drugs

Date:
November 7, 2007
Source:
Virginia Commonwealth University
Summary:
The genes that play a role in illegal drug abuse are not entirely the same as those involved in dependence on legal substances like alcohol and nicotine, and caffeine addiction appears to be genetically independent of all the others, according to a new study.

The genes that play a role in illegal drug abuse are not entirely the same as those involved in dependence on legal substances like alcohol and nicotine, and caffeine addiction appears to be genetically independent of all the others, according to a study led by Virginia Commonwealth University researchers.

Related Articles


The findings may guide efforts by researchers to use molecular genetic tools to localize genes that influence risk for psychoactive drug abuse or dependence, or A/D.

In the November issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, a journal of the American Medical Association, researchers examined the degree to which genetic and environmental risk factors for dependence were shared between illicit and the more commonly used licit psychoactive drugs among men and women.

"We wanted to know whether there was a single set of genes that influence risk for A/D on all substances," said Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and human genetics in VCU's School of Medicine and lead author on the study.

"Our findings suggested two genetic factors - one which strongly impacted on risk for A/D of illicit drugs, such as cannabis and cocaine, and one that impacted on risk for A/D of licit drugs, including caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. However, these two factors were rather strongly correlated," he said. "It was also of interest to note that the genes for caffeine A/D were pretty independent of those found for all the other substances."

Kendler and his colleagues examined lifetime symptoms of abuse of and dependence on marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, caffeine and nicotine among 4,865 male-male and female-female twin pairs through a series of personal interviews. The data collected from the interviews was analyzed using the methods of structural equation modeling.

The twin pairs that participated were from the Virginia Adult Twin Study of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders. These twin pairs were ascertained from the Virginia Twin Registry. The Virginia Twin Registry, now part of the VCU Mid-Atlantic Twin Registry, contains a population-based record of twins from Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

"This study also confirmed the strong role that genetic factors play in influencing our vulnerability to drug abuse and dependence," Kendler said. Heritability -- the proportion of individual differences in risk due to genetic differences -- was estimated in this study to be more than 70 percent for cocaine, cannabis and nicotine A/D, nearly 60 percent for alcohol A/D, and, interestingly, quite a bit lower -- around 35 percent -- for caffeine A/D, he said.

In previous studies, researchers examined an array of illegal substances and did not include commonly used licit drugs, and included only male participates. This was the first study of its kind to examine across the sexes and degree to which risk factors for dependence were shared between illicit and licit drugs.

This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Kendler collaborated with John Meyer, M.S., from the Department of Psychiatry at VCU; and Carol A. Prescott, Ph.D., from the Department of Psychology, University of Southern California.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Commonwealth University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Virginia Commonwealth University. "Genes Play Important Role In Risk For Dependence On Illicit And Licit Drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071105164459.htm>.
Virginia Commonwealth University. (2007, November 7). Genes Play Important Role In Risk For Dependence On Illicit And Licit Drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071105164459.htm
Virginia Commonwealth University. "Genes Play Important Role In Risk For Dependence On Illicit And Licit Drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071105164459.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Just A Half-Hour Of Lost Sleep Could Lead To Weight Gain

Just A Half-Hour Of Lost Sleep Could Lead To Weight Gain

Newsy (Mar. 6, 2015) A new study found losing just half an hour of sleep could make you gain weight. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Suicide Rates Up For Young Women In U.S.

Suicide Rates Up For Young Women In U.S.

Newsy (Mar. 6, 2015) According to a report from the CDC, suicide rates among young women increased from 1994 to 2012 while rates among young men have decreased. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 3, 2015) Super Bowl champions Sidney Rice and Steve Weatherford donate their brains, post-mortem, to scientific research into repetitive brain trauma. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Newsy (Mar. 3, 2015) Researchers found an abnormal protein associated with Alzheimer&apos;s disease in the brains of 20-year-olds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins