Can serotonin transporter genotype predict craving in alcoholism?

Nassima Ait-Daoud, John D Roache, Michael A Dawes, Lei Liu, Xin Qun Wang, Martin A Javors, Chamindi Seneviratne, Bankole A. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: We hypothesize that functional control of the serotonergic system is regulated in part by differential expression of the serotonin (5-HT) transporter (5-HTT). Alcohol-dependent individuals with the LL/LS genotype (L-carriers), compared with those with the SS genotype, have a lower 5-HT neurotransmission, which we hypothesize would be associated with higher craving for alcohol among L-carriers. We hypothesize further that acute peripheral depletion of tryptophan (5-HT's precursor), while further reducing 5-HT function, might decrease auto-inhibition of 5-HT neuronal firing, thereby increasing 5-HT neurotransmission transiently and lowering alcohol craving. Methods: We tested these hypotheses by examining whether in 34 Hispanic alcohol-dependent individuals subjective and physiological cue craving for alcohol differed by genotype, age of onset of problem drinking, and tryptophan availability. Results: On subjective "urge to drink" and "crave for a drink," we found a significant (p < 0.05) main effect of genotype and cue, as well as an interaction among genotype, age of onset of problem drinking, and tryptophan depletion. For the physiological measure of pulse, there was a main effect of genotype. L-carriers had higher craving than their SS counterparts, an effect that decreased under tryptophan depletion. While craving in L-carriers increased with an earlier age of onset of problem drinking, the opposite effect was seen in those with the SS genotype. Conclusion: These results not only provide support for the hypothesis that alcoholics who are L-carriers have greater alcohol craving and possibly greater propensity for drinking but also propose that there is an important 5-HTT gene-by-environment interaction that alters cue craving response for alcohol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1329-1335
Number of pages7
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume33
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2009

Fingerprint

Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
Alcoholism
Serotonin
Genotype
Alcohols
Tryptophan
Drinking
Age of Onset
Cues
Synaptic Transmission
Gene-Environment Interaction
Craving
Alcoholics
Hispanic Americans
Genes
Availability

Keywords

  • Alcohol Dependence
  • Cue Craving
  • Genotype
  • Serotonin Transporter
  • Tryptophan Depletion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Toxicology

Cite this

Can serotonin transporter genotype predict craving in alcoholism? / Ait-Daoud, Nassima; Roache, John D; Dawes, Michael A; Liu, Lei; Wang, Xin Qun; Javors, Martin A; Seneviratne, Chamindi; Johnson, Bankole A.

In: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Vol. 33, No. 8, 08.2009, p. 1329-1335.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ait-Daoud, Nassima ; Roache, John D ; Dawes, Michael A ; Liu, Lei ; Wang, Xin Qun ; Javors, Martin A ; Seneviratne, Chamindi ; Johnson, Bankole A. / Can serotonin transporter genotype predict craving in alcoholism?. In: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2009 ; Vol. 33, No. 8. pp. 1329-1335.
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AU - Dawes, Michael A

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AU - Seneviratne, Chamindi

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