Genetic association studies have demonstrated the importance of variants in the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 cholinergic nicotinic receptor subunit gene cluster on chromosome 15q24-25.1 in risk for nicotine dependence, smoking, and lung cancer in populations of European descent. We have now carried out a detailed study of this region using dense genotyping in both European- and African-Americans.
We genotyped 75 known single-nucleotide-polymorphisms (SNPs) and one sequencing-discovered SNP in an African-American (AA) sample (N = 710) and European-American (EA) sample (N = 2062). Cases were nicotine-dependent and controls were non-dependent smokers.
The non-synonymous CHRNA5 SNP rs16969968 is the most significant SNP associated with nicotine dependence in the full sample of 2772 subjects (p = 4.49×10−8, OR 1.42 (1.25–1.61)) as well as in AAs only (p = 0.015, OR = 2.04 (1.15–3.62)) and EAs only (p = 4.14×10−7, OR = 1.40 (1.23–1.59)). Other SNPs that have been shown to affect mRNA levels of CHRNA5 in EAs are associated with nicotine dependence in AAs but not in EAs. The CHRNA3 SNP rs578776, which has low correlation with rs16969968, is associated with nicotine dependence in EAs but not in AAs. Less common SNPs (frequency ≤ 5%) also are associated with nicotine dependence.
In summary, multiple variants in this gene cluster contribute to nicotine dependence risk, and some are also associated with functional effects on CHRNA5. The non-synonymous SNP rs16969968, a known risk variant in European-descent populations, is also significantly associated with risk in African-Americans. Additional SNPs contribute in distinct ways to risk in these two populations.
genetic association; smoking; cholinergic nicotinic receptors; nicotinic acetylcholine receptors
Smokers have a lower risk of Parkinson's disease (PD). Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have consistently linked several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CHRNA3-CHRNA5-CHRNB4 cluster on chromosome 15.q25 to smoking behaviors and nicotine dependence. Investigations into these SNPs may help explain the nature and mechanisms of the smoking-PD relationship. Objective: To examine whether the genetic variations that were consistently associated with smoking or nicotine dependence in recent GWAS also predict the risk of PD.
This is a population-based case-control study of 788 physician-diagnosed PD patients and 911 controls, all non-Hispanic Whites. Seven SNPs were selected based on findings from recent GWAS on smoking and nicotine dependence, all from the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunits (CHRN) A3-A5-B4. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals were derived from logistic regression models under the assumption of logit-additive allelic effects.
Four SNPs in linkage disequilibrium from the CHRNA3-CHRNA5-CHRNB4 cluster were associated with smoking duration (OR >1.3, p < 0.05). However, none of the SNPs from this cluster was associated with PD risk in the overall analysis or after stratifying on smoking status.
This preliminary analysis does not support a relationship between these smoking-related GWAS SNPs and PD.
Parkinson's disease; Smoking; CHRNA3-CHRNA5-CHRNB4 cluster; Nicotine dependence
Tobacco smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the developed world. Identifying risk factors for smoking may lead to more effective treatments. Genome wide association studies revealed a relationship between development of nicotine dependence and a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP, rs16969968) of the nicotine acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) alpha-5 subunit gene (CHRNA5). The relationship between this SNP and other factors contributing to smoking behavior such as smoking cue reactivity is unclear.
We assessed the role of rs16969968 on brain functional MRI (fMRI) reactivity to smoking cues by studying nicotine dependent women with the nicotine dependence ‘risk’ allele (A allele, N=14) and without the ‘risk’ allele (G/G smokers, N=10). Nicotine dependence severity, as assessed with the Fagerstrom test for nicotine dependence, smoking pack-years, and expired carbon monoxide levels, were equivalent in these groups.
We observed a group difference in fMRI reactivity; women without the A allele (G/G smokers) showed greater fMRI reactivity to smoking images in brain areas related to memory and habitual behavior such as the hippocampus and dorsal striatum.
Our finding suggests that nicotine-dependent smokers lacking the rs16969968 A allele are more likely to recall smoking-related memories and engage in habitual responding to smoking cues than A allele smokers. Although more studies are necessary to determine the mechanism underlying and significance of this cue reactivity difference, these data suggest that smokers may develop and remain nicotine dependent due to different factors including genetics and cue reactivity. This finding may have implications for personalizing smoking treatment.
Tobacco smoking; fMRI; CHRNA5; nicotine dependence; dorsal striatum
The α7 neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit gene (CHRNA7) is localized in a chromosomal region (15q14) linked to schizophrenia in multiple independent studies. CHRNA7 was selected as the best candidate gene in the region for a well-documented endophenotype of schizophrenia, the P50 sensory processing deficit, by genetic linkage and biochemical studies.
Subjects included Caucasian-Non Hispanic and African-American case-control subjects collected in Denver, and schizophrenic subjects from families in the NIMH Genetics Initiative on Schizophrenia. Thirty-five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the 5′-upstream regulatory region of CHRNA7 were genotyped for association with schizophrenia, and for smoking in schizophrenia.
The rs3087454 SNP, located at position −1831 bp in the upstream regulatory region of CHRNA7, was significantly associated with schizophrenia in the case-control samples after multiple-testing correction (P = 0.0009, African American; P = 0.013, Caucasian-Non Hispanic); the association was supported in family members. There was nominal association of this SNP with smoking in schizophrenia.
The data support association of regulatory region polymorphisms in the CHRNA7 gene with schizophrenia.
Nicotinic receptor; Schizophrenia; Polymorphism; Association; Sensory Processing; Alpha 7 nicotinic receptor; Regulatory region; Promoter
Genome-wide association studies have linked lung cancer risk with a region of chromosome 15q25.1 containing CHRNA3, CHRNA5 and CHRNB4 encoding α3, α5 and β4 subunits of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR), respectively. One of the strongest associations was observed for a non-silent single-nucleotide polymorphism at codon 398 in CHRNA5. Here, we have used pharmacological (antagonists) or genetic (RNA interference) interventions to modulate the activity of CHRNA5 in non-transformed bronchial cells and in lung cancer cell lines. In both cell types, silencing CHRNA5 or inhibiting receptors containing nAChR α5 with α-conotoxin MII exerted a nicotine-like effect, with increased motility and invasiveness in vitro and increasing calcium influx. The effects on motility were enhanced by addition of nicotine but blocked by inhibiting CHRNA7, which encodes the homopentameric receptor α7 subunit. Silencing CHRNA5 also decreased the expression of cell adhesion molecules P120 and ZO-1 in lung cancer cells as well as the expression of DeltaNp63α in squamous cell carcinoma cell lines. These results demonstrate a role for CHRNA5 in modulating adhesion and motility in bronchial cells, as well as in regulating p63, a potential oncogene in squamous cell carcinoma.
Genome-wide association studies have linked single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CHRNA5/A3/B4 gene cluster with heaviness of smoking. The nicotine metabolite ratio (NMR), a measure of the rate of nicotine metabolism, is associated with the number of cigarettes per day (CPD) and likelihood of cessation. We tested the potential interacting effects of these two risk factors on CPD.
Pretreatment data from three prior clinical trials were pooled for analysis. One thousand and thirty treatment seekers of European ancestry with genotype data for the CHRNA5/A3/B4 SNPs rs578776 and rs1051730 and complete data for NMR and CPD at pretreatment were included. Data for the third SNP, rs16969968, were available for 677 individuals. Linear regression models estimated the main and interacting effects of genotype and NMR on CPD.
We confirmed independent associations between the NMR and CPD as well as between the SNPs rs16969968 and rs1051730 and CPD. We did not detect a significant interaction between NMR and any of the SNPs examined.
This study demonstrates the additive and independent association of the NMR and SNPs in the CHRNA5/A3/B4 gene cluster with smoking rate in treatment-seeking smokers.
Genetic variants located at 15q25, including those in the cholinergic receptor nicotinic cluster (CHRNA5) have been implicated in both lung cancer risk and nicotine dependence in recent genome-wide association studies. Among these variants, a 22 base pair insertion/deletion, rs3841324 showed the strongest association with CHRNA5 mRNA expression levels. However the influence of rs3841324 on lung cancer risk has not been studied in depth.
We have therefore evaluated the association of rs3841324 genotypes with lung cancer risk in a case-control study of 624 Caucasian subjects with lung cancer and 766 age- and sex-matched cancer-free Caucasian controls. We also evaluated the joint effects of rs3841324 with single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) rs16969968 and rs8034191 in the 15q25 region that have been consistently implicated in lung cancer risk.
We found that the homozygous genotype with both short alleles (SS) of rs3841324 was associated with a decreased lung cancer risk in female ever smokers relative to the homozygous wild-type (LL) and heterozygous (LS) genotypes combined in a recessive model (OR adjusted = 0.55, 95% CI = 0.31–0.89, P = 0.0168). There was no evidence for a sex difference in the association between this variant and cigarettes smoked per day (CPD). Diplotype analysis of rs3841324 with either rs16969968 or rs8034191 showed that these polymorphisms influenced the lung cancer risk independently.
Conclusions and impact
This study has shown a sex difference in the association between the 15q25 variant rs3841324 and lung cancers. Further research is warranted to elucidate the mechanisms underlying these observations.
lung cancer; CHRNA5; Chromosome 15q25; rs3841324; sex-specific association
Smoking many cigarettes per day (CPD) and short interval to first cigarette (TTF) after waking are two of the most heritable smoking phenotypes and comprise the Heavy Smoking Index (HSI). These phenotypes are often used as proxies for nicotine dependence (ND) and are associated with smoking cessation outcomes. Case-control and genome-wide association studies have reported links between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the alpha-5 and -3 nicotinic receptor subunit (CHRNA5 and CHRNA3) genes and CPD but few have examined TTF or cessation outcomes. In this study we longitudinally assessed 1301 European-American smokers at four time-points from 1988 to 2005. One CHRNA5 (rs16969968) and two CHRNA3 (rs1051703, rs6495308) SNPs were examined for their ability to predict smokers who ‘ever’ reported ND based on three phenotypic classifications: 1) 25+ CPD, 2) TTF < 10 minutes, and 3) HSI ≥ 4. In a subsample of 1157 quit attempters, we also examined each SNP’s ability to predict ‘ever’ quitting for a period of >6 months. Demographically adjusted logistic regressions showed significant allelic and genotypic associations between all three SNPs and CPD but not TTF, HSI, or smoking cessation. Carriers of both the rs16969968-AA and rs6495308-TT genotypes had approximately two-fold greater odds for ND defined using CPD or TTF. Results suggest nicotinic receptor variants are associated with greater odds of ND according to CPD and to a lesser extent TTF. Research examining the effect of nicotinic receptor genetic variation on ND phenotypes beyond CPD is warranted.
Cholinergic; Nicotinic; Allele; Dependence; Cessation
CHRNA4, the gene that encodes the nicotinic
acetylcholine receptor α4 subunit, is a potential candidate
gene for nicotine dependence (ND). However, studies of the association of
CHNRA4 with smoking behavior have shown inconsistent
results. Our meta-analysis of linkage studies of smoking behavior identified a
genome-wide significant linkage of the phenotype maximum number of cigarettes
smoked in a 24-hour period to a region (20q13.12-q13.32) harboring
CHRNA4. This motivated us to examine the association of
CHRNA4 with smoking behavior in two independent samples. In
this study, we examined five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within
CHRNA4 and three smoking-related behaviors: one
quantitative trait [cigarettes smoked per day (CPD)], and two
binary traits [DSM-IV diagnosis of ND and dichotomized Fagerstrom test
of ND (FTND)], in 1,249 unrelated European-Americans (EAs) and 1,790
unrelated African-Americans (AAs). Using the combined sample with sex, age and
race as covariates, the synonymous SNP rs1044394 was significantly associated
with ND (P = 0.001) and FTND (P
= 0.01). Rs2236196, which has a low correlation with rs1044394, was also
significantly associated with CPD (P = 0.003). The
pattern of association for these SNPs was similar in AAs and EAs. After
correction for multiple testing, the association between rs1044394 and ND in the
combined sample remained significant (P = 0.033). In
summary, our study supports association between CHRNA4 common
variation and ND in AA and EA samples. Additional studies will be necessary to
evaluate the role of rare variants at CHRNA4 for ND.
smoking behavior; nicotine dependence; FTND; SNP; association
Attentional gating deficits, commonly measured by prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the acoustic startle response (ASR), have been established as an endophenotype of schizophrenia. Prepulse inhibition is heritable and has been associated with polymorphisms in serotonin and dopamine system genes. Prepulse inhibition can be enhanced by nicotine, and therefore it has been proposed that schizophrenia patients smoke to ameliorate their early attentional deficits. The PPI-enhancing effects of nicotine in rodents are strain dependent, suggesting a genetic contribution to PPI within the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) system. Recent human genetic studies also imply that tobacco dependence is affected by polymorphisms in the α3/α5 subunits of the nAChR (CHRNA3/CHRNA5) gene cluster. We, therefore, investigated the impact of two common CHRNA3 polymorphisms (rs1051730/rs1317286) on PPI, startle reactivity, and habituation of the ASR in two independent samples of 107 healthy British volunteers and 73 schizophrenia patients hailing from Germany. In both samples, PPI was influenced by both CHRNA3 polymorphisms (combined p-value=0.0027), which were strongly linked. Moreover, CHRNA3 genotype was associated with chronicity, treatment, and negative symptoms in the schizophrenia sample. These results suggest that sensorimotor gating is influenced by variations of the CHRNA3 gene, which might also have an impact on the course and severity of schizophrenia.
prepulse inhibition; sensorimotor gating; CHRNA3; nicotinic acetylcholine receptor; rs1051730; schizophrenia; Acetylcholine; Neurogenetics; Neuropharmacology; Schizophrenia/Antipsychotics; Prepulse inhibition; nicotine; sensorimotor gating; CHRNA3; nicotinic acetylcholine receptor
Genetic effects contribute to individual differences in smoking behavior. Persistence to smoke despite known harmful health effects is mostly driven by nicotine addiction. As the physiological effects of nicotine are mediated by nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), we aimed at examining whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) residing in nAChR subunit (CHRN) genes, other than CHRNA3/CHRNA5/CHRNB4 gene cluster previously showing association in our sample, are associated with smoking quantity or serum cotinine levels.
The study sample consisted of 485 Finnish adult daily smokers (age 30–75 years, 59% men) assessed for the number of cigarettes smoked per day (CPD) and serum cotinine level. We first studied SNPs residing on selected nAChR subunit genes (CHRNA2, CHRNA4, CHRNA6/CHRNB3, CHRNA7, CHRNA9, CHRNA10, CHRNB2, CHRNG/CHRND) genotyped within a genome-wide association study for single SNP and multiple SNP associations by ordinal regression. Next, we explored individual haplotype associations using sliding window technique.
At one of the 8 loci studied, CHRNG/CHRND (chr2), single SNP (rs1190452), multiple SNP, and 2-SNP haplotype analyses (SNPs rs4973539–rs1190452) all showed statistically significant association with cotinine level. The median cotinine levels varied between the 2-SNP haplotypes from 220 ng/ml (AA haplotype) to 249 ng/ml (AG haplotype). We did not observe significant associations with CPD.
These results provide further evidence that the γ−δ nAChR subunit gene region is associated with cotinine levels but not with the number of CPD, illustrating the usefulness of biomarkers in genetic analyses.
CHRNA5-A3-B4, the gene cluster encoding nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunits, is associated with lung cancer risk and smoking behaviors in people of European descent. Because cigarette smoking is also a major risk factor for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), we investigated the associations between variants in CHRNA5-A3-B4 and ESCC risk, as well as smoking behaviors, in a Chinese population.
A case-control study of 866 ESCC patients and 952 healthy controls was performed to study the association of polymorphisms (rs667282 and rs3743073) in CHRNA5-A3-B4 with cancer risk using logistic regression models. The relationships between CHRNA5-A3-B4 polymorphisms and smoking behaviors that can be quantified by cigarettes smoked per day (CPD) and pack-years of smoking were separately estimated with Kruskal-Wallis tests among all 840 smokers.
CHRNA5-A3-B4 rs667282 TT/TG genotypes were associated with significantly increased risk of ESCC [adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.32, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.03 – 1.69, P = 0.029]. The increased ESCC risk was even higher among younger subjects (≤60 years) (OR = 1.44, 95% CI = 1.04 – 1.98, P = 0.024). These effects were not found in another polymorphism rs3743073. No evident association between the two polymorphisms and smoking behaviors was observed.
These results support the hypothesis that CHRNA5-A3-B4 is a susceptibility gene cluster for ESCC. The relationship between CHRNA5-A3-B4 and smoking behaviors in a Chinese population needs further investigation.
The relative importance of specific genetic and environmental factors in regulating nicotine dependence (ND) risk, including the effects on specific forms of childhood adversity on smoking risk, have been understudied. Genome-wide association studies and rodent models have demonstrated that the α5 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor gene (CHRNA5) is important in regulating nicotine intake. Childhood adversity increases the methylation level of the CHRNA5 promoter region in European Americans (EAs), an effect that was observed only in males (Zhang et al, submitted for publication). In view of this potential sex difference in the effects of early life experience on smoking, we investigated the presence of a sex-specific gene-by-environment effect of this marker on ND risk. A nonsynonymous SNP in CHRNA5 previously associated to ND and several related traits, rs16969968, was genotyped in 2206 EAs (1301 men and 905 women). The main and interactive effects of childhood adversity and rs16969968 genotype on diagnosis of ND and ND defined by dichotomized Fagerstrom test for ND (FTND) scores were explored. Men and women were analyzed separately to test for sex differences. Childhood adversity significantly increased ND risk in both sexes, and the effect in women was twice than that in men. Significant interactive effects of childhood adversity and rs16969968 genotype were observed in men (ND: OR=1.80, 95% CI=1.18–2.73, P=0.0044; FTND: OR=1.79, 95% CI=1.11–2.88, P=0.012). No interaction was found in women. This study provides evidence of a sex-specific gene × environment effect of CHRNA5 and childhood adversity on the risk for ND.
CHRNA5; childhood adversity; gene–environment interaction; nicotine dependence; Fagerstrom test for nicotine dependence score; acetylcholine; addiction & substance abuse; neurogenetics; psychiatry & behavioral sciences; CHRNA5; childhood adversity; gene–environment interaction; nicotine dependence; Fagerstrom test for nicotine dependence score
The role of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor gene cluster on chromosome 15q24-25 in the etiology of nicotine dependence (ND) is still being defined. In this study, we included all 15 tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 cluster and tested associations with 30 smoking-related phenotypes.
The study sample was ascertained from the Finnish Twin Cohort study. Twin pairs born 1938–1957 and concordant for a history of cigarette smoking were recruited along with their family members (mainly siblings), as part of the Nicotine Addiction Genetics consortium. The study sample consisted of 1,428 individuals (59% males) from 735 families, with mean age 55.6 years.
We detected multiple novel associations for ND. DSM-IV ND symptoms associated significantly with the proxy SNP Locus 1 (rs2036527, p = .000009) and Locus 2 (rs578776, p = .0001) and tolerance factor of the Nicotine Dependence Syndrome Scale (NDSS) showed suggestive association to rs11636753 (p = .0059), rs11634351 (p = .0069), and rs1948 (p = .0071) in CHRNB4. Furthermore, we report significant association with DSM-IV ND diagnosis (rs2036527, p = .0003) for the first time in a Caucasian population. Several SNPs indicated suggestive association for traits related to ages at smoking initiation. Also, rs11636753 in CHRNB4 showed suggestive association with regular drinking (p = .0029) and the comorbidity of depression and ND (p = .0034).
We demonstrate novel associations of DSM-IV ND symptoms and the NDSS tolerance subscale. Our results confirm and extend association findings for other ND measures. We show pleiotropic effects of this gene cluster on multiple measures of ND and also regular drinking and the comorbidity of ND and depression.
Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are activated by both endogenous acetylcholine and exogenous nicotine, making sequence variations in these receptors likely candidates for association with tobacco phenotypes. Previous studies have found evidence for significant association between SNPs in the genomic region containing the CHRNA6 and CHRNB3 genes and tobacco behaviors (Bierut et al, 2007; Greenbaum et al, 2006; Saccone et al, 2007; Zeiger et al, 2008). In this study, we provide support for an association between these genes and tobacco dependence in the National Youth Survey Family Study wave 10, a nationally representative sample of households. Eight single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CHRNA6 and CHRNB3 genomic region were genotyped in 1051 subjects, approximately half of whom are members of sibling pairs. Genetic association with DSM-IV dependence was assessed using a family-based approach as implemented in the statistical package PBAT. Individual SNPs were tested for association with quit attempts and overall dependence. Variation in CHRNA6 was found to be associated with tobacco dependence (p=0.007 in Caucasians). SNPs in CHRNB3 were found to be associated with the number of quit attempts (p=0.0024). Together these results further implicate the region downstream of CHRNA6 and the region upstream of CHRNB3 in risk of nicotine dependence.
Nicotinic receptors; SNP; Genetic association; Tobacco use; Nicotine Dependence
Smokers have a higher prevalence of major depressive episodes and depressive symptoms than the general population, but whether this association is causal, or is due to confounding or reverse causation is uncertain because of the problems inherent in some epidemiological studies. Mendelian randomization, in which a genetic variant is used as a surrogate for measuring exposure, is an approach which may be used to better understand this association. We investigated the rs1051730 single nucleotide polymorphism in the nicotine acetylcholine receptor gene cluster (CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4), associated with smoking phenotypes, to determine whether women who continued to smoke were also more likely to report a low mood during pregnancy. We found among women who smoked pre-pregnancy, those with the 1051730 T allele smoked more and were less likely to quit smoking during pregnancy, but were also less likely to report high levels of depressed mood at 18 weeks of pregnancy (per allele OR = 0.84, 95%CI 0.72 to 0.99, p = 0.034). The association between genotype and depressed mood was limited to women who were smokers prior to pregnancy, with weak evidence of an interaction between smoking status and genotype (p = 0.07). Our results do not support a causal role of smoking on depressed mood, but are consistent with a self-medication hypothesis, whereby smoking is used to alleviate symptoms of depression. A replication study using multiple genetic variants which influence smoking via different pathways is required to confirm these findings and provide evidence that the genetic variant is reflecting the effect of quitting smoking on depressed mood, and is not directly affecting mood.
The reasons why people smoke are varied, but research has demonstrated that genetic influences on various aspects of nicotine addiction are a major factor. There also is a strong genetic influence on measures of nicotine sensitivity in mice. Despite the established contribution of genetics to nicotine sensitivity in mice and humans, no naturally occurring genetic variation has been identified that demonstrably alters sensitivity to nicotine in either species. However, one genetic variant has been implicated in altering nicotine sensitivity in mice is a T529A polymorphism in Chrna4, the gene that encodes the nicotinic receptor (nAChR) α4 subunit. The Chrna4 T529A polymorphism leads to a threonine to alanine substitution at position 529 of the α4 subunit. To more definitively address whether the Chrna4 T529A polymorphism does, in fact, influence sensitivity to nicotine, knockin mice were generated in which the threonine codon at position 529 was mutated to an alanine codon. Compared to Chrna4 T529 littermate controls, the Chrna4 A529 knockin mice exhibited greater sensitivity to the hypothermic effects of nicotine, reduced oral nicotine consumption and did not develop conditioned place preference to nicotine. The Chrna4 A529 knockin mice also differed from T529 littermates for two parameters of acetylcholine-stimulated 86Rb+ efflux in midbrain: maximal efflux and the percentage of α4β2* receptors with high sensitivity to activation by agonists. Results indicate that the polymorphism affects the function of midbrain α4β2* nAChRs and contributes to individual differences in several behavioral and physiological responses to nicotine thought to be modulated by midbrain α4β2* nAChRs.
Nicotinic receptor; genetics; polymorphism; conditioned place preference; oral consumption; addiction
One potential site of convergence of the nicotine and alcohol actions is the family of the neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Our study examines the genetic association between variations in the genomic region containing the CHRNA5, A3 and B4 gene cluster (A5A3B4) and several phenotypes of alcohol and tobacco use in an ethnically diverse young adult sample. Significant results were then replicated in a separate adult population-representative sample.
In a selected sample, nine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were tested for association with various nicotine and alcohol phenotypes, including age of initiation and measures of frequency, quantity and subjective responses to the substances. Analysis was conducted using the statistical genetics program WHAP in the full sample (1075 subjects) including ethnicities as covariates and within each ethnic group sub-sample. Replication of the significant results in a separate population-based sample was carried out using the PBAT statistical genetics program.
Two linked SNPs (rs8023462 and rs1948) located in a conserved region of the A5A3B4 gene cluster, significantly predicted early age of initiation for tobacco with a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.35 (95%CI;1.08–1.70) for the TT genotype of rs8023462 and a HR of 1.29 (95%CI;1.01–1.63) for the CC genotype of rs1948. These findings were then replicated in a separate population-representative sample, showing rs1948 and rs8023462 to be associated with age of initiation for both tobacco and alcohol use (p < 0.01 and p < 0.001).
Variations in A5A3B4 genes may influence behaviors that promote early age of experimentation with drugs.
A recent study provisionally identified numerous genetic variants as risk factors for the transition from smoking to the development of nicotine dependence, including an amino acid change in the α5 nicotinic cholinergic receptor (CHRNA5). The purpose of this study is to replicate these findings in an independent dataset and more thoroughly investigate the role of genetic variation in the cluster of physically linked nicotinic receptors, CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4, and the risk of smoking.
Individuals from 219 European American families (N=2,284) were genotyped across this gene cluster to test the genetic association with smoking. The frequency of the amino acid variant (rs16969968) was studied in 995 individuals from diverse ethnic populations. In vitro studies were performed to directly test whether the amino acid variant in the CHRNA5 influenced receptor function.
A genetic variant marking an amino acid change showed association with the smoking phenotype (p=0.007). This variant is within a highly conserved region across non-human species, but its frequency varied across human populations (0% in African populations to 37% in European populations). Furthermore, functional studies demonstrated that the risk allele decreased response to a nicotine agonist. A second independent finding was seen at rs578776 (p=0.003), and the functional significance of this association remains unknown.
This study confirms that at least two independent variants in this nicotinic receptor gene cluster contribute to the development of habitual smoking in some populations, and it underscores the importance of multiple genetic variants contributing to the development of common diseases in various populations.
There is shared genetic risk for dependence on multiple substances, and the nicotinic receptor gene cluster on chromosome 15 harbors multiple polymorphisms that associate to this risk. Here, we report the results of an association study with 21 SNPs genotyped across the CHRNA5, CHRNA3, and CHRNB4 loci on chromosome 15q25.1. The sample consists of a discovery set (N=1858) of European-American and African-American (AA) families, ascertained on the basis of a sibling pair with cocaine and/or opioid dependence, and a case–control replication sample (N=3388) collected for association studies of alcohol, cocaine, and opioid dependence. We tested the SNPs for association with lifetime cocaine, opioid, nicotine, and alcohol dependence. We replicated several previous findings, including associations between rs16969968 and nicotine dependence (P=0.002) and cocaine dependence (P=0.02), with opposite risk alleles for each substance. We observed these associations in AAs, which is a novel finding. The strongest association signal in either sample was between rs684513 in CHRNA5 and cocaine dependence (OR=1.43, P=0.0004) in the AA replication set. We also observed two SNPs associated with alcohol dependence, that is, rs615470 in CHRNA5 (OR=0.77, P=0.0006) and rs578776 (OR=0.78, P=0.001). The associations between CD and rs684513, AD and rs615470, and AD and rs578776 remained significant after a permutation-based correction for multiple testing. These data reinforce the importance of variation in the chromosome 15 nicotinic receptor subunit gene cluster for risk of dependence on multiple substances, although the direction of the effects may vary across substances.
genetic association; substance dependence; nicotinic acetylcholine receptors; Acetylcholine; Addiction & Substance Abuse; Neurogenetics; Epidemiology; Genetic Association
Twin and family studies have provided overwhelming evidence for the genetic basis of individual differences in tobacco initiation (TI), regular smoking (RS) and nicotine dependence (ND). However, only a few genes have been reliably associated with ND. We used a finite mixture distribution model to examine the significance and effect size of the association of previously identified and replicated specific variants in the CHRNA5 and CHRNA3 receptor genes with ND, against the background of genetic and environmental risk factors for ND. We hypothesize that additional phenotypic information in relatives who have not been genotyped can be used to increase the power of detecting the genetic variant. The nicotine measures were assessed by personal interview in female, male and opposite sex twin pairs (N = 4,153) from the population-based Virginia Twin Registry. Three SNPs in the CHRNA5 and CHRNA3 receptor genes, previously shown to be significantly associated with ND in this sample, were replicated in the augmented analyses; they accounted for less than one percent of the genetic variance in liability to ND, which is estimated to be over 50% of the phenotypic variance. The significance of these effects was increased by adding twins with phenotype but without genotype data, but gains are limited and variable. The SNPs associated with ND did not show a significant association with either TI or RS and appear to be specific to the addictive stage of ND, characterized by current smoking and smoking a large amount of cigarettes per day. Furthermore, these SNPs did not appear to be associated with the remaining items comprising the FTND scale. This study confirmed a significant contribution of the CHRNA receptor on different forms of tobacco dependence. However, the genetic variant only accounted for little of the total genetic variance for liability to ND. Including phenotypic data on ungenotyped relatives can improve the statistical power to detect the effects of genetic variants when they contribute to individual differences in the phenotype.
Nicotine; Dependence; Association; Twin studies; Smoking; Receptors
Recently, several genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified many susceptible single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer which are two closely related diseases. Among those SNPs, some of them are shared by both the diseases, reflecting there is possible genetic similarity between the diseases. Here we tested the hypothesis that whether those shared SNPs are common predictor for risks or prognosis of COPD and lung cancer. Two SNPs (rs6495309 and rs1051730) located in nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha 3 (CHRNA3) gene were genotyped in 1511 patients with COPD, 1559 lung cancer cases and 1677 controls in southern and eastern Chinese populations. We found that the rs6495309CC and rs6495309CT/CC variant genotypes were associated with increased risks of COPD (OR = 1.32, 95% C.I. = 1.14–1.54) and lung cancer (OR = 1.57; 95% CI = 1.31–1.87), respectively. The rs6495309CC genotype contributed to more rapid decline of annual Forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) in both COPD cases and controls (P<0.05), and it was associated with advanced stages of COPD (P = 0.033); the rs6495309CT/CC genotypes conferred a poor survival for lung cancer (HR = 1.41, 95%CI = 1.13–1.75). The luciferase assays further showed that nicotine and other tobacco chemicals had diverse effects on the luciferase activity of the rs6495309C or T alleles. However, none of these effects were found for another SNP, rs1051730G>A. The data show a statistical association and suggest biological plausibility that the rs6495309T>C polymorphism contributed to increased risks and poor prognosis of both COPD and lung cancer.
Owing to the clinical relationship between bipolar disorder and nicotine dependence, we investigated two research questions: (i) are genetic associations with nicotine dependence different in individuals with bipolar disorder as compared with individuals without bipolar disorder, and (ii) do loci earlier associated with nicotine dependence have pleiotropic effects on these two diseases.
Our study consisted of 916 cases with bipolar disorder and 1028 controls. On the basis of known associations with nicotine dependence, we genotyped eight single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on chromosome 8 (three bins) in the regions of CHRNB3 and CHRNA6, and six SNPs on chromosome 15 (three bins) in the regions of CHRNA5 and CHRNA3.
To determine whether the genetic associations with nicotine dependence are different in bipolar disorder than in the general population, we compared allele frequencies of candidate SNPs between individuals with nicotine dependence only and individuals with both nicotine dependence and bipolar disorder. There were no statistical differences between these frequencies, indicating that genetic association with nicotine dependence is similar in individuals with bipolar disorder as in the general population. In the investigation of pleiotropic effects of these SNPs on bipolar disorder, two highly correlated synonymous SNPs in CHRNB3, rs4952 and rs4953, were significantly associated with bipolar disorder (odds ratio 1.7, 95% confidence interval: 1.2–2.4, P = 0.001). This association remained significant both after adjusting for a smoking covariate and analyzing the association in nonsmokers only.
Our results suggest that (i) bipolar disorder does not modify the association between nicotine dependence and nicotinic receptor subunit genes, and (ii) variants in CHRNB3/CHRNA6 are independently associated with bipolar disorder. Psychiatr Genet 00:000–000.
analyses; CHRNA3; CHRNA5; CHRNA6; genetic association; nicotine; tobacco use disorder
Variation in the CHRNA5-A3-B4 gene cluster is a promising candidate region for smoking behavior and has been linked to multiple smoking-related phenotypes (e.g., nicotine dependence) and diseases (e.g., lung cancer). Two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), rs16969968 in CHRNA5 and rs1051730 in CHRNA3, have generated particular interest.
We evaluated the published evidence for association between rs16969968 (k = 27 samples) and rs1051730 (k = 44 samples) SNPs with heaviness of smoking using meta-analytic techniques. We explored which SNP provided a stronger genetic signal and investigated study-level characteristics (i.e., ancestry, disease state) to establish whether the strength of association differed across populations. We additionally tested for small study bias and explored the impact of year of publication.
Results and Conclusions:
Meta-analysis indicated compelling evidence of an association between the rs1051730/rs16966968 variants and daily cigarette consumption (fixed effects: B = 0.91, 95% CI = 0.77, 1.06, p < .001; random effects: B = 1.01, 95% CI = 0.81, 1.22, p < .001), equivalent to a per-allele effect of approximately 1 cigarette/day. SNP rs1051730 was found to provide a stronger signal than rs16966968 in stratified analyses (pdiff = .028), although this difference was only qualitatively observed in the subset of samples that provided data on both SNPs. While the functional relevance of rs1051730 is unknown, it may be a strong tagging SNP for functional haplotypes in this region.
The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) gene cluster CHRNA5-A3-B4 on chromosome 15 has been the subject of a considerable body of research over recent years. Two highly correlated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within this region—rs16969968 in CHRNA5 and rs1051730 in CHRNA3—have generated particular interest.
We reviewed the literature relating to SNPs rs16969968 and rs1051730 and smoking-related phenotypes, and clinical and preclinical studies, which shed light on the mechanisms underlying these associations.
Following the initial discovery of an association between this locus and smoking behavior, further associations with numerous phenotypes have been subsequently identified, including smoking-related behaviors, diseases, and cognitive phenotypes. Potential mechanisms thought to underlie these have also been described, as well as possible gene × environment interaction effects.
Perhaps counter to the usual route of scientific inquiry, these initial findings, based exclusively on human samples and strengthened by their identification through agnostic genome-wide methods, have led to preclinical research focused on determining the mechanism underlying these associations. Progress has been made using knockout mouse models, highlighting the importance of α5 nAChR subunits in regulating nicotine intake, particularly those localized to the habenula–interpeduncular nucleus pathway. Translational research seeking to evaluate the effect of nicotine challenge on brain activation as a function of rs16969968 genotype using neuroimaging technologies is now called for, which may point to new targets for novel smoking cessation therapies.