D2 dopamine receptor gene TaqI A1 and B1 restriction fragment length polymorphisms: Enhanced frequencies in psychostimulant-preferring polysubstance abusers

Antonio M. Persico, Geoffrey Bird, Frances H. Gabbay, George R. Uhl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Several lines of evidence suggest that presence of a D2 dopamine receptor (DRD2) gene variant marked by TaqI restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) might contribute to vulnerability to substance abuse. Psychostimulants display the most robust enhancement of dopamine activity in mesolimbic/mesocortical circuits important for behavioral reward. The present study tests the hypothesis that a DRD2 gene variant might be more prominent in polysubstance users who preferentially use psychostimulants than in addicts with preferential opiate use or in those with no drug preference. Polysubstance users with histories of heavy daily preferential psychostimulant use more often displayed one or two copies of the TaqI A1 (27/62 = 43.5% vs 33/119 = 27.7% for controls), and B1 (20/62 = 32.3% vs 23/119 = 19.8% for controls) markers at the DRD2 locus. DRD2 gene marker distributions in abusers with more prominent opiate use, or those with no history of drug preference, were similar to control genotypes. Psychostimulant-preferring drug users also reported earlier onset of psychostimulant use. Our data are consistent with the hypothesis that DRD2 gene variants marked by these polymorphisms may work, probably in concert with other genetic and environmental factors, to enhance vulnerability to psychostimulant abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)776-784
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Volume40
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 1996

Keywords

  • alcoholism
  • amphetamine
  • cocaine
  • dopamine D receptor
  • genetic association
  • substance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

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