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Genomic Loci Associated With Addiction Identified

Nineteen independent SNPs identified that were genome-wide significant for general addiction risk factor

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Genomic loci significantly associated with addiction have been identified in a genome-wide association meta-analysis, the results of which were published online March 22 in Nature Mental Health.

Alexander S. Hatoum, Ph.D., from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues reported a multivariate genome-wide association meta-analysis in a sample of 1,025,550 individuals of European descent and 92,630 individuals of African descent. General and substance-specific loci were identified from published summary statistics of problematic alcohol use, problematic tobacco use, cannabis use disorder, and opioid use disorder.

The researchers identified 19 independent single-nucleotide polymorphisms that were genome-wide significant for the general addiction risk factor (addiction-rf), which showed high polygenicity. Among other genes, PDE4B was significant, suggesting dopamine regulation as a vulnerability across substances. There was an association observed for an addiction-rf polygenic risk score with substance use disorders, psychopathologies, somatic conditions, and environments associated with addiction onset. Metabolic and receptor genes were included as substance-specific loci (nine for alcohol, 32 for tobacco, five for cannabis, and one for opioids).

“A common and highly polygenic genetic architecture underlies multiple substance use disorders, a finding that merits integration into medical knowledge on addictions,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry; two authors disclosed holding a patent on “Genotype-guided dosing of opioid agonists.”

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