The dopaminergic system has been implicated in alcoholism but studies at the dopamine D2 receptor gene (DRD2), one of the five dopamine receptors, have not given a consistent picture of an association with alcoholism. We have now studied the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4) using six polymorphisms, both separately and as haplotypes. Three groups of alcoholics from Taiwan (Atayal, Ami, and Han) diagnosed as having severe alcohol dependence using DSM-III-R criteria, together with nonalcoholics matched for gender, ethnic group, and geographic origin, were typed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and/or PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) for all six polymorphisms. Three out of six markers are polymorphic in all three Taiwanese populations. Although the prevalence rates of alcoholism are remarkably different no highly significant association of this locus with alcoholism was observed in any of the three groups whether the analysis considered genotype distributions or allele frequencies at the three polymorphic markers considered individually and as haplotypes. Neither is there any obvious pattern in the data that covaries with or hints at a relationship with the very different prevalences of alcoholism in the groups studied. Especially because the powerful, multi-site haplotype analysis was not statistically significant in any of the population samples, we conclude that there is no association of the DRD4 locus with alcoholism in Taiwanese populations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biological Psychiatry