Genetic Vulnerability to Drug Abuse: The D2 Dopamine Receptor Taq I B1 Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Appears More Frequently in Polysubstance Abusers

Stevens S. Smith, Bruce F. O'Hara, Antonio M. Persico, David A. Gorelick, David B. Newlin, David Vlahov, Liza Solomon, Roy Pickens, George R. Uhl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Alcoholics are more likely than nonalcoholics to display the Taq I A1 restriction fragment length polymorphism of the D2 dopamine receptor gene, according to four of six studies that examined alcoholics and controls. The current study examines whether the association observed in alcoholism might extend to other addictive substances by examining D2 dopamine receptor Taq IA and B restriction fragment length polymorphisms in polysubstance users and controls free of significant substance use. We hypothesized a stronger association for the B1 restriction fragment length polymorphism since it lies closer to dopamine receptor protein coding and 5' regulatory regions. Heavy polysubstance users and subjects with DSM-III-R psychoactive substance use diagnoses displayed significantly higher Taq I B1 frequencies than control subjects; Taq I A1 results for these comparisons were less robust. These results are consistent with a role for a D2 dopamine receptor gene variant marked by these restriction fragment length polymorphisms in enhanced substance abuse vulnerability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-727
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of General Psychiatry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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