Summary: Researchers have identified over 500 genetic variants which affect the use of, and addiction to, alcohol and tobacco.
Source: University of Minnesota.
Tobacco and alcohol use, both genetically inheritable behaviors, influence risk for many complex diseases and disorders and are leading causes of mortality.
The University of Minnesota was part of a research collaboration that conducted the first study, recently published in Nature Genetics, to identify hundreds of genomic locations associated with addictive behaviors. Researchers found more than 500 genetic variants that affect the use of and addiction to tobacco and alcohol. Until now, only a few of such variants had been identified.
Researchers studied 1.2 million people and looked five characteristics including the age when a participant began smoking; the number of cigarettes per day the participant smoked; whether the participant has ever been a regular smoker; whether the participant ever quit smoking; and the number of alcoholic drinks the participant had per week.
The study showed:
- 566 genetic variants in 406 genomic locations associated with multiple stages of tobacco use (initiation, cessation, and heaviness) and alcohol use;
- 150 loci, or locations in the genome, showing evidence for association with two or more of the characteristics listed above;
- increased genetic risk for smoking was associated with increased risk for a wide variety of health conditions such as obesity and coronary artery disease;
- genetic risk for alcohol use was associated with lower disease risk.
“These results provide a solid starting point to evaluate the effects of these loci in model organisms and more precise substance use measures,” said Scott Vrieze, a researcher on the project and associate professor in the College of Liberal Arts Department of Psychology. “We hope the results drive research on how these genes affect addiction and, ultimately, inform treatment development.”
Funding: The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Human Genome Research Institute, both parts of the National Institutes of Health.
Source: University of Minnesota
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Original Research: Abstract for “Association studies of up to 1.2 million individuals yield new insights into the genetic etiology of tobacco and alcohol use” by Mengzhen Liu, Yu Jiang, Robbee Wedow, Yue Li, David M. Brazel, Fang Chen, Gargi Datta, Jose Davila-Velderrain, Daniel McGuire, Chao Tian, Xiaowei Zhan, 23andMe Research Team, HUNT All-In Psychiatry, Hélène Choquet, Anna R. Docherty, Jessica D. Faul, Johanna R. Foerster, Lars G. Fritsche, Maiken Elvestad Gabrielsen, Scott D. Gordon, Jeffrey Haessler, Jouke-Jan Hottenga, Hongyan Huang, Seon-Kyeong Jang, Philip R. Jansen, Yueh Ling, Reedik Mägi, Nana Matoba, George McMahon, Antonella Mulas, Valeria Orrù, Teemu Palviainen, Anita Pandit, Gunnar W. Reginsson, Anne Heidi Skogholt, Jennifer A. Smith, Amy E. Taylor, Constance Turman, Gonneke Willemsen, Hannah Young, Kendra A. Young, Gregory J. M. Zajac, Wei Zhao, Wei Zhou, Gyda Bjornsdottir, Jason D. Boardman, Michael Boehnke, Dorret I. Boomsma, Chu Chen, Francesco Cucca, Gareth E. Davies, Charles B. Eaton, Marissa A. Ehringer, Tõnu Esko, Edoardo Fiorillo, Nathan A. Gillespie, Daniel F. Gudbjartsson, Toomas Haller, Kathleen Mullan Harris, Andrew C. Heath, John K. Hewitt, Ian B. Hickie, John E. Hokanson, Christian J. Hopfer, David J. Hunter, William G. Iacono, Eric O. Johnson, Yoichiro Kamatani, Sharon L. R. Kardia, Matthew C. Keller, Manolis Kellis, Charles Kooperberg, Peter Kraft, Kenneth S. Krauter, Markku Laakso, Penelope A. Lind, Anu Loukola, Sharon M. Lutz, Pamela A. F. Madden, Nicholas G. Martin, Matt McGue, Matthew B. McQueen, Sarah E. Medland, Andres Metspalu, Karen L. Mohlke, Jonas B. Nielsen, Yukinori Okada, Ulrike Peters, Tinca J. C. Polderman, Danielle Posthuma, Alexander P. Reiner, John P. Rice, Eric Rimm, Richard J. Rose, Valgerdur Runarsdottir, Michael C. Stallings, Alena Stančáková, Hreinn Stefansson, Khanh K. Thai, Hilary A. Tindle, Thorarinn Tyrfingsson, Tamara L. Wall, David R. Weir, Constance Weisner, John B. Whitfield, Bendik Slagsvold Winsvold, Jie Yin, Luisa Zuccolo, Laura J. Bierut, Kristian Hveem, James J. Lee, Marcus R. Munafò, Nancy L. Saccone, Cristen J. Willer, Marilyn C. Cornelis, Sean P. David, David A. Hinds, Eric Jorgenson, Jaakko Kaprio, Jerry A. Stitzel, Kari Stefansson, Thorgeir E. Thorgeirsson, Gonçalo Abecasis, Dajiang J. Liu & Scott Vriezein Nature Genetics. Published January 14 2019.
Association studies of up to 1.2 million individuals yield new insights into the genetic etiology of tobacco and alcohol use
Tobacco and alcohol use are leading causes of mortality that influence risk for many complex diseases and disorders. They are heritable and etiologically related behaviors that have been resistant to gene discovery efforts. In sample sizes up to 1.2 million individuals, we discovered 566 genetic variants in 406 loci associated with multiple stages of tobacco use (initiation, cessation, and heaviness) as well as alcohol use, with 150 loci evidencing pleiotropic association. Smoking phenotypes were positively genetically correlated with many health conditions, whereas alcohol use was negatively correlated with these conditions, such that increased genetic risk for alcohol use is associated with lower disease risk. We report evidence for the involvement of many systems in tobacco and alcohol use, including genes involved in nicotinic, dopaminergic, and glutamatergic neurotransmission. The results provide a solid starting point to evaluate the effects of these loci in model organisms and more precise substance use measures.