Shared Genetic Factors Influence Amygdala Volumes and Risk for Alcoholism

Alecia D. Dager, D. Reese McKay, Jack W. Kent, Joanne E. Curran, Emma Knowles, Emma Sprooten, Harald H.H. Göring, Thomas D. Dyer, Godfrey D. Pearlson, Rene L Olvera, Peter T Fox, William R. Lovallo, Ravi Duggirala, Laura Almasy, John Blangero, David C. Glahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Alcohol abuse and dependence (alcohol use disorders, AUDs) are associated with brain shrinkage. Subcortical structures including the amygdala, hippocampus, ventral striatum, dorsal striatum, and thalamus subserve reward functioning and may be particularly vulnerable to alcohol-related damage. These structures may also show pre-existing deficits impacting the development and maintenance of AUD. It remains unclear whether there are common genetic features underlying both subcortical volumes and AUD. In this study, structural brain images were acquired from 872 Mexican-American individuals from extended pedigrees. Subcortical volumes were obtained using FreeSurfer, and quantitative genetic analyses were performed in SOLAR. We hypothesized the following: (1) reduced subcortical volumes in individuals with lifetime AUD relative to unrelated controls; (2) reduced subcortical volumes in individuals with current relative to past AUD; (3) in non-AUD individuals, reduced subcortical volumes in those with a family history of AUD compared to those without; and (4) evidence for common genetic underpinnings (pleiotropy) between AUD risk and subcortical volumes. Results showed that individuals with lifetime AUD showed larger ventricular and smaller amygdala volumes compared to non-AUD individuals. For the amygdala, there were no differences in volume between current vs past AUD, and non-AUD individuals with a family history of AUD demonstrated reductions compared to those with no such family history. Finally, amygdala volume was genetically correlated with the risk for AUD. Together, these results suggest that reduced amygdala volume reflects a pre-existing difference rather than alcohol-induced neurotoxic damage. Our genetic correlation analysis provides evidence for a common genetic factor underlying both reduced amygdala volumes and AUD risk.Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication, 3 September 2014;doi:10.1038/npp.2014.187.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNeuropsychopharmacology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jul 31 2014

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Amygdala
Alcoholism
Alcohols
Genetic Pleiotropy
Brain
Pedigree
Thalamus
Reward
Publications
Hippocampus
Maintenance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology

Cite this

Dager, A. D., McKay, D. R., Kent, J. W., Curran, J. E., Knowles, E., Sprooten, E., ... Glahn, D. C. (Accepted/In press). Shared Genetic Factors Influence Amygdala Volumes and Risk for Alcoholism. Neuropsychopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2014.187

Shared Genetic Factors Influence Amygdala Volumes and Risk for Alcoholism. / Dager, Alecia D.; McKay, D. Reese; Kent, Jack W.; Curran, Joanne E.; Knowles, Emma; Sprooten, Emma; Göring, Harald H.H.; Dyer, Thomas D.; Pearlson, Godfrey D.; Olvera, Rene L; Fox, Peter T; Lovallo, William R.; Duggirala, Ravi; Almasy, Laura; Blangero, John; Glahn, David C.

In: Neuropsychopharmacology, 31.07.2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Dager, AD, McKay, DR, Kent, JW, Curran, JE, Knowles, E, Sprooten, E, Göring, HHH, Dyer, TD, Pearlson, GD, Olvera, RL, Fox, PT, Lovallo, WR, Duggirala, R, Almasy, L, Blangero, J & Glahn, DC 2014, 'Shared Genetic Factors Influence Amygdala Volumes and Risk for Alcoholism', Neuropsychopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2014.187
Dager, Alecia D. ; McKay, D. Reese ; Kent, Jack W. ; Curran, Joanne E. ; Knowles, Emma ; Sprooten, Emma ; Göring, Harald H.H. ; Dyer, Thomas D. ; Pearlson, Godfrey D. ; Olvera, Rene L ; Fox, Peter T ; Lovallo, William R. ; Duggirala, Ravi ; Almasy, Laura ; Blangero, John ; Glahn, David C. / Shared Genetic Factors Influence Amygdala Volumes and Risk for Alcoholism. In: Neuropsychopharmacology. 2014.
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