Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene's Role In Severity Of Drinking Uncovered

Date:
February 7, 2009
Source:
University of Virginia Health System
Summary:
New research could help explain why some alcoholics are more severe drinkers than others. Scientists have found strong evidence that the serotonin transporter gene, SLC6A4, plays a significant role in influencing drinking intensity among alcohol-dependent individuals.

New research from the University of Virginia Health System could help explain why some alcoholics are more severe drinkers than others. A UVA team has found strong evidence that the serotonin transporter gene, SLC6A4, plays a significant role in influencing drinking intensity among alcohol-dependent individuals.

The study, published in the February 2009 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, analyzed the associations between six different DNA sequence variations, or single nucleotide polymorphisms, of the serotonin transporter gene with the levels of drinking intensity among 275 alcohol-dependent individuals seeking treatment. Drinking intensity is measured by the amount a person consumes each day he or she drinks.

"Of the sixvariants examined in the study, we found thatone variantatthe 3' end of the gene showed a significant association with drinking intensity,"says study co-author Ming D. Li, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences in the UVA School of Medicine. "Specifically, we foundthat individuals with the 'G' allele of thisvariantdrink less thanindividuals with the ‘T' allele."

Previous studies have shown that the neurochemical serotonin mediates the rewarding effects of alcohol and, therefore, may be a key contributor leading to alcohol abuse. Studies also show that the brain's serotonin system plays an important role in alcohol preference and consumption.

"Acute drinking increases serotonin release and signaling in brain regions involved in controlling consumption of alcohol," explains study co-author Professor Bankole Johnson, D.Sc., M.D., Ph.D., M.Phil., FRCPsych., chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences in the UVA School of Medicine. "But chronic drinking reduces serotonergic function, leading to a serotonin-deficient state. One hypothesis is that alcoholics drink to alleviate this serotonin-deficient state.

"But it's important to remember that alcoholics differ significantly in their drinking patterns, social backgrounds and disease etiology," says Johnson. "All of these factors may affect both treatment outcomes and medical complications resulting from heavy drinking."

One of the main goals of treatment, Johnson points out, is to reduce the intensity of drinking. "A known genetic marker could be used to sub-type alcoholics and better determine treatment methods that can target specific underlying molecular mechanisms. We hope to determine whether this particular genetic variant can be used as a marker to predict treatment outcomes for different serotonin agents," says Johnson.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Virginia Health System. "Gene's Role In Severity Of Drinking Uncovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090204121517.htm>.
University of Virginia Health System. (2009, February 7). Gene's Role In Severity Of Drinking Uncovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090204121517.htm
University of Virginia Health System. "Gene's Role In Severity Of Drinking Uncovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090204121517.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) A study for University College London suggests obese people who are discriminated against gain more weight than those who are not. 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:
from the past week

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