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1.  Functional variation of the dopamine D2 receptor gene is associated with emotional control as well as brain activity and connectivity during emotion processing in humans 
Personality traits related to emotion processing are, at least in part, heritable and genetically determined. Dopamine D2 receptor signaling is involved in modulation of emotional behavior and activity of associated brain regions such as the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. An intronic single nucleotide polymorphism within the D2 receptor gene (DRD2, rs1076560, guanine>thymine - G>T) shifts splicing of the two protein isoforms (D2 short, D2S, mainly presynaptic, and D2 long, D2L) and has been associated with modulation of memory performance and brain activity. Here, our aim was to investigate the association of DRD2 rs1076560 genotype with personality traits of emotional stability and with brain physiology during processing of emotionally relevant stimuli. DRD2 genotype and Big Five Questionnaire scores were evaluated in 134 healthy subjects demonstrating that GG subjects have reduced ‘emotion control’ compared with GT subjects. fMRI in a sample of 24 individuals indicated greater amygdala activity during implicit processing and greater dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) response during explicit processing of facial emotional stimuli in GG subjects compared with GT. Other results also demonstrate an interaction between DRD2 genotype and facial emotional expression on functional connectivity of both amygdala and dorsolateral prefrontal regions with overlapping medial prefrontal areas. Moreover, rs1076560 genotype is associated with differential relationships between amygdala/DLPFC functional connectivity and emotion control scores. These results suggest that genetically determined D2 signaling may explain part of personality traits related to emotion processing and individual variability in specific brain responses to emotionally relevant inputs.
PMCID: PMC2834475  PMID: 19940176
amygdala; DRD2; dopamine; emotion; fMRI; prefrontal cortex
2.  Functional variants of the dopamine receptor D2 gene modulate prefronto-striatal phenotypes in schizophrenia 
Brain  2008;132(2):417-425.
Dopamine D2 receptor signalling is strongly implicated in the aetiology of schizophrenia. We have recently characterized the function of three DRD2 SNPs: rs12364283 in the promoter affecting total D2 mRNA expression; rs2283265 and rs1076560, respectively in introns 5 and 6, shifting mRNA splicing to two functionally distinct isoforms, the short form of D2 (D2S) and the long form (D2L). These two isoforms differentially contribute to dopamine signalling in prefrontal cortex and in striatum. We performed a case–control study to determine association of these variants and of their main haplotypes with several schizophrenia-related phenotypes. We demonstrate that the minor allele in the intronic variants is associated with reduced expression of %D2S of total mRNA in post-mortem prefrontal cortex, and with impaired working memory behavioural performance, both in patients and controls. However, the fMRI results show opposite effects in patients compared with controls: enhanced engagement of prefronto-striatal pathways in controls and reduced activity in patients. Moreover, the promoter variant is also associated with working memory activity in prefrontal cortex and striatum of patients, and less robustly with negative symptoms scores. Main haplotypes formed by the three DRD2 variants showed significant associations with these phenotypes consistent with those of the individual SNPs. Our results indicate that the three functional DRD2 variants modulate schizophrenia phenotypes possibly by modifying D2S/D2L ratios in the context of different total D2 density.
PMCID: PMC2640212  PMID: 18829695
dopamine; D2 receptor; working memory; prefrontal cortex; striatum
3.  Genetically Determined Measures of Striatal D2 Signaling Predict Prefrontal Activity during Working Memory Performance 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(2):e9348.
Variation of the gene coding for D2 receptors (DRD2) has been associated with risk for schizophrenia and with working memory deficits. A functional intronic SNP (rs1076560) predicts relative expression of the two D2 receptors isoforms, D2S (mainly pre-synaptic) and D2L (mainly post-synaptic). However, the effect of functional genetic variation of DRD2 on striatal dopamine D2 signaling and on its correlation with prefrontal activity during working memory in humans is not known.
Thirty-seven healthy subjects were genotyped for rs1076560 (G>T) and underwent SPECT with [123I]IBZM (which binds primarily to post-synaptic D2 receptors) and with [123I]FP-CIT (which binds to pre-synaptic dopamine transporters, whose activity and density is also regulated by pre-synaptic D2 receptors), as well as BOLD fMRI during N-Back working memory.
Subjects carrying the T allele (previously associated with reduced D2S expression) had striatal reductions of [123I]IBZM and of [123I]FP-CIT binding. DRD2 genotype also differentially predicted the correlation between striatal dopamine D2 signaling (as identified with factor analysis of the two radiotracers) and activity of the prefrontal cortex during working memory as measured with BOLD fMRI, which was positive in GG subjects and negative in GT.
Our results demonstrate that this functional SNP within DRD2 predicts striatal binding of the two radiotracers to dopamine transporters and D2 receptors as well as the correlation between striatal D2 signaling with prefrontal cortex activity during performance of a working memory task. These data are consistent with the possibility that the balance of excitatory/inhibitory modulation of striatal neurons may also affect striatal outputs in relationship with prefrontal activity during working memory performance within the cortico-striatal-thalamic-cortical pathway.
PMCID: PMC2825256  PMID: 20179754
4.  Dopamine transporter DAT and receptor DRD2 variants affect risk of lethal cocaine abuse: a gene–gene–environment interaction 
Translational Psychiatry  2013;3(1):e222-.
Epistatic gene–gene interactions could contribute to the heritability of complex multigenic disorders, but few examples have been reported. Here, we focus on the role of aberrant dopaminergic signaling, involving the dopamine transporter DAT, a cocaine target, and the dopamine D2 receptor, which physically interacts with DAT. Splicing polymorphism rs2283265 of DRD2, encoding D2 receptors, were shown to confer risk of cocaine overdose/death (odds ratio ∼3) in subjects and controls from the Miami Dade County Brain Bank.1 Risk of cocaine-related death attributable to the minor allele of rs2283265 was significantly enhanced to OR=7.5 (P=0.0008) in homozygous carriers of the main 6-repeat allele of DAT rs3836790, a regulatory VNTR in intron8 lacking significant effect itself. In contrast, carriers of the minor 5-repeat DAT allele showed no significant risk (OR=1.1, P=0.84). DAT rs3836790 and DRD2 rs2283265 also interacted by modulating DAT protein activity in the ventral putamen of cocaine abusers. In high-linkage disequilibrium with the VNTR, DAT rs6347 in exon9 yielded similar results. Assessing the impact of DAT alone, a rare DAT haplotype formed by the minor alleles of rs3836790 and rs27072, a regulatory DAT variant in the 3′-UTR, occurred in nearly one-third of the cocaine abusers but was absent in African American controls, apparently conferring strong risk. These results demonstrate gene–gene–drug interaction affecting risk of fatal cocaine intoxication.
PMCID: PMC3566726  PMID: 23340505
cocaine-related death; DAT; DRD2; epistasis; gene–gene interaction; gene regulation; haplotype
5.  No Evidence for Strong Recent Positive Selection Favoring the 7 Repeat Allele of VNTR in the DRD4 Gene 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e24410.
The human dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) gene contains a 48-bp variable number of tandem repeat (VNTR) in exon 3, encoding the third intracellular loop of this dopamine receptor. The DRD4 7R allele, which seems to have a single origin, is commonly observed in various human populations and the nucleotide diversity of the DRD4 7R haplotype at the DRD4 locus is reduced compared to the most common DRD4 4R haplotype. Based on these observations, previous studies have hypothesized that positive selection has acted on the DRD4 7R allele. However, the degrees of linkage disequilibrium (LD) of the DRD4 7R allele with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) outside the DRD4 locus have not been evaluated. In this study, to re-examine the possibility of recent positive selection favoring the DRD4 7R allele, we genotyped HapMap subjects for DRD4 VNTR, and conducted several neutrality tests including long range haplotype test and iHS test based on the extended haplotype homozygosity. Our results indicated that LD of the DRD4 7R allele was not extended compared to SNP alleles with the similar frequency. Thus, we conclude that the DRD4 7R allele has not been subjected to strong recent positive selection.
PMCID: PMC3164202  PMID: 21909391
6.  Genetically determined interaction between the dopamine transporter and the D2 receptor on prefronto-striatal activity and volume in humans 
Dopamine modulation of neuronal activity during memory tasks identifies a non-linear inverted-U shaped function. Both the dopamine transporter (DAT) and dopamine D2 receptors (encoded by DRD2) critically regulate dopamine signaling in the striatum and in prefrontal cortex during memory. Moreover, in vitro studies have demonstrated that DAT and D2 proteins reciprocally regulate each other presynaptically. Therefore, we have evaluated the genetic interaction between a DRD2 polymorphism (rs1076560) causing reduced presynaptic D2 receptor expression and the DAT 3’-VNTR variant (affecting DAT expression) in a large sample of healthy subjects undergoing BOLD - fMRI during memory tasks and structural MRI. Results indicated a significant DRD2/DAT interaction in prefrontal cortex and striatum BOLD activity during both working memory and encoding of recognition memory. The differential effect on BOLD activity of the DAT variant was mostly manifest in the context of the DRD2 allele associated with lower presynaptic expression. Similar results were also evident for gray matter volume in caudate. These interactions describe a non-linear relationship between compound genotypes and brain activity or gray matter volume. Complementary data from striatal protein extracts from wild-type and D2 knock-out animals (D2R−/−) indicate that DAT and D2 proteins interact in vivo. Taken together, our results demonstrate that the interaction between genetic variants in DRD2 and DAT critically modulates the non-linear relationship between dopamine and neuronal activity during memory processing.
PMCID: PMC2686116  PMID: 19176830
working memory; Recognition Memory; FMRI; Dopamine; Transport; D2; Receptor
7.  DRD2 Genotype-Based Variation of Default Mode Network Activity and of Its Relationship With Striatal DAT Binding 
Schizophrenia Bulletin  2011;39(1):206-216.
The default mode network (DMN) comprises a set of brain regions with “increased” activity during rest relative to cognitive processing. Activity in the DMN is associated with functional connections with the striatum and dopamine (DA) levels in this brain region. A functional single-nucleotide polymorphism within the dopamine D2 receptor gene (DRD2, rs1076560 G > T) shifts splicing of the 2 D2 isoforms, D2 short and D2 long, and has been associated with striatal DA signaling as well as with cognitive processing. However, the effects of this polymorphism on DMN have not been explored. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of rs1076560 on DMN and striatal connectivity and on their relationship with striatal DA signaling. Twenty-eight subjects genotyped for rs1076560 underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging during a working memory task and 123 55 I-Fluoropropyl-2-beta-carbomethoxy-3-beta(4-iodophenyl) nortropan Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography ([123I]-FP-CIT SPECT) imaging (a measure of dopamine transporter [DAT] binding). Spatial group-independent component (IC) analysis was used to identify DMN and striatal ICs. Within the anterior DMN IC, GG subjects had relatively greater connectivity in medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), which was directly correlated with striatal DAT binding. Within the posterior DMN IC, GG subjects had reduced connectivity in posterior cingulate relative to T carriers. Additionally, rs1076560 genotype predicted connectivity differences within a striatal network, and these changes were correlated with connectivity in MPFC and posterior cingulate within the DMN. These results suggest that genetically determined D2 receptor signaling is associated with DMN connectivity and that these changes are correlated with striatal function and presynaptic DA signaling.
PMCID: PMC3523900  PMID: 21976709
DRD2; dopamine; default mode network; functional magnetic resonance imaging; single-photon emission computerized tomography
8.  Drd4 gene polymorphisms are associated with personality variation in a passerine bird 
Polymorphisms in several neurotransmitter-associated genes have been associated with variation in human personality traits. Among the more promising of such associations is that between the human dopamine receptor D4 gene (Drd4) variants and novelty-seeking behaviour. However, genetic epistasis, genotype–environment interactions and confounding environmental factors all act to obscure genotype–personality relationships. Such problems can be addressed by measuring personality under standardized conditions and by selection experiments, with both approaches only feasible with non-human animals. Looking for similar Drd4 genotype–personality associations in a free-living bird, the great tit (Parus major), we detected 73 polymorphisms (66 SNPs, 7 indels) in the P. major Drd4 orthologue. Two of the P. major Drd4 gene polymorphisms were investigated for evidence of association with novelty-seeking behaviour: a coding region synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP830) and a 15 bp indel (ID15) located 5′ to the putative transcription initiation site. Frequencies of the three Drd4 SNP830 genotypes, but not the ID15 genotypes, differed significantly between two P. major lines selected over four generations for divergent levels of ‘early exploratory behaviour’ (EEB). Strong corroborating evidence for the significance of this finding comes from the analysis of free-living, unselected birds where we found a significant association between SNP830 genotypes and differing mean EEB levels. These findings suggest that an association between Drd4 gene polymorphisms and animal personality variation predates the divergence of the avian and mammalian lineages. Furthermore, this work heralds the possibility of following microevolutionary changes in frequencies of behaviourally relevant Drd4 polymorphisms within populations where natural selection acts differentially on different personality types.
PMCID: PMC1914334  PMID: 17472912
personality; Drd4; dopamine receptor; polymorphisms; Parus major; novelty seeking
9.  No direct effect of the -521 C/T polymorphism in the human dopamine D4 receptor gene promoter on transcriptional activity 
The human dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) gene has been studied extensively as a candidate gene for certain psychological traits and several behavioural and psychiatric disorders. Both the 5' regulatory region and the coding sequence contain a number of polymorphisms. The promoter variants have received particular attention in the past few years due to their possible role in the regulation of gene transcription. Previously, the -521C/T SNP was shown to influence promoter activity. The aim of this study is to perform an in-depth analysis of this effect in the context of various neural cell lines.
Endogenous mRNA expression of the DRD4 gene was demonstrated in two neuroblastoma (SK-N-F1, IMR32) and one retinoblastoma cell line (Y79) by RT-PCR. In addition, very low DRD4 mRNA levels were also detected in HeLa cells. The transcriptional activity of a series of 5' promoter deletion mutants was determined by transient transfection of luciferase reporter constructs. The activity profile of these promoter fragments was similar in each of the cell lines tested. The highest luciferase reporter activity was obtained with a construct containing promoter sequences between nucleotides -668 to -389, while a putative silencer region was localised spanning from nucleotide -1571 to -800. Surprisingly, the -521 C/T polymorphism had no significant effect on transcriptional activity of the reporter construct with the highest activity (-668 to -389) in any of the three cell lines tested.
Our results do not confirm previous data assigning different transcriptional activities to the -521 C/T alleles of the human DRD4 promoter. Furthermore, these findings highlight the need for further characterization of the 5' regulatory region of the DRD4 gene and identification of additional functional promoter polymorphic sites, especially in the context of haplotype.
PMCID: PMC1481588  PMID: 16723017
10.  DRD2 polymorphisms modulate reward and emotion processing, dopamine neurotransmission and openness to experience 
Dopamine (DA) neurotransmission through D2 receptors (DRD2) has been implicated in the regulation of reward processing, cognition and the effects of drugs of abuse, and also has significant effects in responses to stressors and salient aversive stimuli. An examination of the influence of genetic variation across multiple psychophysical measures therefore appears critical to understand the neurobiology of DA-modulated complex personality traits and psychiatric illnesses. To examine interindividual variation in the function of DRD2 modulated mechanisms in healthy humans, we used a haplotype-based and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) investigation. Their effects were interrogated with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during reward and emotional processing. We found that a haplotype block composed by two SNPs, rs4274224 and rs4581480, affected the hemodynamic responses of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) during reward expectation and the subgenual anterior cingulate cortices (sgACC) during implicit emotional processing. Exploratory analysis within the significant haplotype block revealed the same functional effects only for the SNP rs4274224. Further analysis on rs4274224 using functional connectivity and positron emission tomography (PET) measures of DA D2/3 receptor mediated neurotransmission confirmed a gene effect on the functional connectivity of the DLPFC during reward anticipation and subcortical stress induced dopamine release. At a phenotypic trait level, significant effects of genotype were obtained for the NEO PI-R “Openness to Experience” and further correlated with neuroimaging data. Overall, these results show significant neurobiological effects of genotype variation in DRD2 on multiple functional domains, such as emotional, stress and reward processing. As such, it contributes to normal variation and potentially to vulnerability to psychopathology associated with those functions, such as risk for mood and substance use disorders.
PMCID: PMC3381848  PMID: 22424959
imaging; dopamine; DLPFC; reward; emotion
11.  No evidence for the association of DRD4 with ADHD in a Taiwanese population within-family study 
BMC Medical Genetics  2005;6:31.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a prevalent and highly heritable childhood disorder. The dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) gene has shown a genetic association with ADHD in Caucasian populations with meta-analysis indicating a small but significant effect across datasets. It remains uncertain whether this association can be generalised to non-Caucasian ethnic groups. Here we investigate two markers within the DRD4 gene in a Taiwanese population, the exon 3 variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) and a 5' 120 base-pair duplication.
Within-family transmission disequilibrium tests of association of the 5' 120 base-pair duplication, and exon 3 VNTR in a Taiwanese population.
No evidence of association of ADHD with either polymorphism in this population was observed.
The DRD4 gene markers investigated were not found to be associated with ADHD in this Taiwanese sample. Further work in Taiwanese and other Asian populations will therefore be required to establish whether the reports of association of DRD4 genetic variants in Caucasian samples can be generalised to Asian populations.
PMCID: PMC1236928  PMID: 16143039
12.  Lack of Association between Polymorphisms of the Dopamine Receptor D4 and Dopamine Transporter Genes and Personality Traits in a Korean Population 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2006;47(6):787-792.
Human personality traits have a considerable genetic component. Cloninger et al. were the first to postulate that certain personality traits, such as novelty seeking, are related to the dopamine neurotransmitter system. In this study, we investigated the associations between dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) exon III and dopamine transporter (DAT1) polymorphisms and personality traits. The DRD4 and DAT1 gene polymorphisms were genotyped in 214 healthy Korean subjects, whose personality traits were assessed with the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). There were no significant differences between scores of TCI temperament dimensions (novelty seeking, harm avoidance, reward dependence, and persistence) and DRD4 gene polymorphism. The DAT1 gene polymorphisms also showed no significant association with any of the temperament subscales of the TCI. These data suggest that DRD4 and DAT1 gene polymorphism may not associated with personality traits in a Korean population.
PMCID: PMC2687817  PMID: 17191306
Dopamine receptor D4; dopamine transporter gene; polymorphism; personality traits; temperament and character inventory; Korean
13.  Multivariate Analysis of Dopaminergic Gene Variants as Risk Factors of Heroin Dependence 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66592.
Heroin dependence is a debilitating psychiatric disorder with complex inheritance. Since the dopaminergic system has a key role in rewarding mechanism of the brain, which is directly or indirectly targeted by most drugs of abuse, we focus on the effects and interactions among dopaminergic gene variants.
To study the potential association between allelic variants of dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2), ANKK1 (ankyrin repeat and kinase domain containing 1), dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4), catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT) and dopamine transporter (SLC6A3) genes and heroin dependence in Hungarian patients.
303 heroin dependent subjects and 555 healthy controls were genotyped for 7 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) rs4680 of the COMT gene; rs1079597 and rs1800498 of the DRD2 gene; rs1800497 of the ANKK1 gene; rs1800955, rs936462 and rs747302 of the DRD4 gene. Four variable number of tandem repeats (VNTRs) were also genotyped: 120 bp duplication and 48 bp VNTR in exon 3 of DRD4 and 40 bp VNTR and intron 8 VNTR of SLC6A3. We also perform a multivariate analysis of associations using Bayesian networks in Bayesian multilevel analysis (BN-BMLA).
Findings and conclusions
In single marker analysis the TaqIA (rs1800497) and TaqIB (rs1079597) variants were associated with heroin dependence. Moreover, –521 C/T SNP (rs1800955) of the DRD4 gene showed nominal association with a possible protective effect of the C allele. After applying the Bonferroni correction TaqIB was still significant suggesting that the minor (A) allele of the TaqIB SNP is a risk component in the genetic background of heroin dependence. The findings of the additional multiple marker analysis are consistent with the results of the single marker analysis, but this method was able to reveal an indirect effect of a promoter polymorphism (rs936462) of the DRD4 gene and this effect is mediated through the –521 C/T (rs1800955) polymorphism in the promoter.
PMCID: PMC3696122  PMID: 23840506
14.  Dopamine D4 receptor gene DRD4 and its association with psychiatric disorders 
Dopamine receptors control neural signals that modulates behavior. Dopamine plays an important role in normal attention; that is the reason for studying the genes of the dopaminergic system, mainly in connection with disorders of attention. DRD4 influences the postsynaptic action of dopamine and is implicated in many neurological processes, exhibits polymorphism and is one of the most studied genes in connection with psychiatric disorders. Associations were found with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), substance dependences, several specific personality traits, and reaction to stress. These findings have implications for pharmacogenetics. This article reviews the principle published associations of DRD4 variants with psychiatric disorders.
PMCID: PMC3560519  PMID: 21873960
DRD4; dopamine receptor gene; psychiatric disorders; ADHD
15.  Dopamine receptor D1 and post-synaptic density gene variants associate with opiate abuse and striatal expression levels 
Molecular psychiatry  2012;18(11):10.1038/mp.2012.140.
Opioid drugs are highly addictive and their abuse has a strong genetic load. Dopamine-glutamate interactions are hypothesized to be important for regulating neural systems central for addiction vulnerability. Balanced dopamine-glutamate interaction is mediated through several functional associations, including a physical link between discs, large homolog 4 (Drosophila) (DLG4, PSD-95) and dopamine receptor 1 (DRD1) within the postsynaptic density to regulate DRD1 trafficking. To address whether genetic associations with heroin abuse exist in relation to dopamine and glutamate and their potential interactions, we evaluated single nucleotide polymorphisms of key genes within these systems in three populations of opiate abusers and controls, totaling 489 individuals from Europe and the USA. Despite significant differences in racial makeup of the separate samples, polymorphisms of DRD1 and DLG4 were found to be associated with opiate abuse. In addition, a strong gene-gene interaction between homer 1 homolog (Drosophila) (HOMER1) and DRD1 was predicted to occur in Caucasian subjects. This interaction was further analyzed by evaluating DRD1 genotype in relation to HOMER1b/c protein expression in postmortem tissue from a subset of Caucasian subjects. DRD1 rs265973 genotype correlated with HOMER1b/c levels in the striatum, but not cortex or amgydala; the correlation was inversed in opiate abusers as compared to controls. Cumulatively, these results support the hypothesis that there may be significant, genetically-influenced interactions between glutamatergic and dopaminergic pathways in opiate abusers.
PMCID: PMC3637428  PMID: 23044706
addiction; heroin; epistasis; post mortem; striatum; plasticity; glutamate
16.  Dopamine receptor genetic polymorphisms and body composition in undernourished pastoralists: An exploration of nutrition indices among nomadic and recently settled Ariaal men of northern Kenya 
Minor alleles of the human dopamine receptor polymorphisms, DRD2/TaqI A and DRD4/48 bp, are related to decreased functioning and/or numbers of their respective receptors and have been shown to be correlated with body mass, height and food craving. In addition, the 7R minor allele of the DRD4 gene is at a higher frequency in nomadic compared to sedentary populations. Here we examine polymorphisms in the DRD2 and DRD4 genes with respect to body mass index (BMI) and height among men in two populations of Ariaal pastoralists, one recently settled (n = 87) and the other still nomadic (n = 65). The Ariaal live in northern Kenya, are chronically undernourished and are divided socially among age-sets.
Frequencies of the DRD4/7R and DRD2/A1 alleles were 19.4% and 28.2%, respectively and did not differ between the nomadic and settled populations. BMI was higher in those with one or two DRD4/7R alleles in the nomadic population, but lower among the settled. Post-hoc analysis suggests that the DRD4 differences in BMI were due primarily to differences in fat free body mass. Height was unrelated to either DRD2/TaqI A or DRD4/48 bp genotypes.
Our results indicate that the DRD4/7R allele may be more advantageous among nomadic than settled Ariaal men. This result suggests that a selective advantage mediated through behaviour may be responsible for the higher frequency of the 7R alleles in nomadic relative to sedentary populations around the world. In contrast to previous work, we did not find an association between DRD2 genotypes and height. Our results support the idea that human phenotypic expression of genotypes should be rigorously evaluated in diverse environments and genetic backgrounds.
PMCID: PMC2440754  PMID: 18544160
17.  Common polymorphisms in dopamine-related genes combine to produce a ‘schizophrenia-like' prefrontal hypoactivity 
Translational Psychiatry  2014;4(2):e356-.
Individual changes in dopamine-related genes influence prefrontal activity during cognitive-affective processes; however, the extent to which common genetic variations combine to influence prefrontal activity is unknown. We assessed catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val108/158Met (rs4680) and dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) G-T (rs2283265) single nucleotide polymorphisms and functional magnetic resonance imaging during an emotional response inhibition test in 43 healthy adults and 27 people with schizophrenia to determine the extent to which COMT Val108/158Met and DRD2 G-T polymorphisms combine to influence prefrontal response to cognitive-affective challenges. We found an increased number of cognitive-deficit risk alleles in these two dopamine-regulating genes predict reduced prefrontal activation during response inhibition in healthy adults, mimicking schizophrenia-like prefrontal hypoactivity. Our study provides evidence that functionally related genes can combine to produce a disease-like endophenotype.
PMCID: PMC3944629  PMID: 24495967
catechol-O-methyl-transferase COMT genotype; dopamine D2 receptor gene; emotional inhibition; hypofrontality; prefrontal cortex; schizophrenia
18.  Clinical and pharmacogenetic determinants for the discontinuation of non-ergoline dopamine agonists in Parkinson’s disease 
To identify determinants for the discontinuation of non-ergoline dopamine agonist (DA) treatment in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and to identify genetic determinants in genes encoding dopamine receptor (DR)D2 and DRD3 in a exploratory analysis.
Patients included were first-time users of the non-ergoline DA ropinirole or pramipexole who had been diagnosed with PD before 2005. Treatment discontinuation was defined as a gap of 180 days or more between two refills of the DA. Non-genetic determinants for discontinuation were studied in the overall population, and genetic determinants [DRD2 141C Ins/Del, DRD2 (CA)n STR, DRD2 TaqIA, DRD3 MscI single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and DRD3 MspI SNP] were studied in a subgroup. Cox proportional hazard analysis was used to estimate the hazard ratios (HR) for the discontinuation of non-ergoline DA treatment.
The study population comprised 90 patients. Apomorphine use was associated with non-ergoline DA discontinuation, although the apomorphine group consisted only of three patients [HR 6.26; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.85–21.2]. Daily levodopa dosages between 500 and 1000 mg were positively associated with discontinuation (HR 2.31; 95% CI 1.08–4.93). Included in the exploratory pharmacogenetic analysis were 38 patients. The absence of a 15× DRD2 CA repeat allele was significantly related with a decreased discontinuation of non-ergoline treatment (HR 0.23; 95% CI 0.07–0.81). The DRD3 MspI polymorphism showed a non-significant allele dose effect, suggestive of a causal relationship.
This study identified apomorphine use and levodopa dosages between 500 and 1000 mg as non-genetic and the 15× DRD2 CA repeat allele as genetic determinants for the discontinuation of non-ergoline DA treatment in patients with PD. More research is needed to replicate these findings.
PMCID: PMC2778789  PMID: 19669131
Determinants; Discontinuation; Dopamine agonists; Dopamine receptors; Parkinson’s disease; Pharmacogenetics; Pramipexole; Ropinirole
19.  Reappraisal of the role of the DRD3 gene in essential tremor 
Parkinsonism & related disorders  2008;14(6):471-475.
Analyze the distribution of polymorphism in the dopamine receptor D3 (DRD3) gene, which was previously reported as a susceptibility risk for essential tremor (ET), in a large cohort of ET.
The role of 312G>A DRD3 polymorphism was analyzed using linkage analysis, association study and transmission disequilibrium test in a group of 433 ET patients, and two unrelated control groups with 121 and 151 individuals.
Allelic frequencies of glycine and serine forms of the DRD3 gene did not differ between patients and both control groups, and were in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. Linkage analysis identified obligatory recombinants in every large pedigree, even in those with relatively high frequency of glycine allele, thus excluding the linkage to this locus. Both alleles were transmitted with an equal likelihood to affected offspring. We also failed to replicate the relationship between glycine homozygosity and an earlier age of onset or more severe tremor course.
Our comprehensive genetic analysis in a large ET cohort strongly argues against the role of the DRD3 gene in ET pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2576470  PMID: 18316228
Essential tremor; DRD3; Genetics
20.  Polymorphisms of DRD2 and DRD3 genes and Parkinson’s disease: A meta-analysis 
Biomedical Reports  2014;2(2):275-281.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder that affects ~2% of the population aged ≥65 years. The degeneration of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra contributes to the pathogenesis of PD. Dopamine receptor D2 (DRD2) and dopamine receptor D3 (DRD3) are two key subtypes of dopamine receptors. The aim of our study was to evaluate the association between the polymorphisms of DRD2 and DRD3 genes and PD. Meta-analyses were conducted from 16 studies (46 stages) among 4,279 cases and 5,661 controls between PD and 9 polymorphisms (DRD2: rs1800497, rs1079597, rs6278, rs6279, rs273482, rs1799732 and rs1076563; DRD3: rs6280 and rs2134655). A significant association was observed between DRD3 rs2134655 polymorphism and PD [P=0.01, odds ratio (OR)=1.17, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.03–1.32] and a borderline association was observed between DRD2 rs1800497 polymorphism and PD in Europeans (P=0.05, OR=1.13, 95% CI: 1.00–1.27). Findings of the current meta-analysis suggested that DRD3 rs2134655 polymorphism was associated with a 17% increased risk of PD and that DRD2 rs1800497 polymorphism had a potential to increase the risk of PD by 13% in Europeans. Future large-scale studies are required to confirm the ethnic difference of DRD2 rs1800497 polymorphism and to determine whether there were significant associations of PD with other polymorphisms in DRD2 and DRD3 genes.
PMCID: PMC3917740  PMID: 24649110
Parkinson; polymorphism; meta-analysis; dopamine receptor D2; dopamine receptor D3
21.  No association of DRD2, DRD3, and tyrosine hydroxylase gene polymorphisms with personality traits in the Japanese population 
Dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) and dopamine D3 receptor (DRD3) genes could be candidates for personality-related genes considering their pharmacological profiles or structures. However, a limited number of studies have investigated the association between these genes and personality traits. In the present study, we investigated the DRD2, DRD3, and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) genes in relation to personality traits in the Japanese population. Epistasis (gene-gene interaction) among the genes was extensively analyzed, in addition to the analysis based on each gene.
The -241A/G, -141C Ins/Del, and Ser311Cys polymorphisms in the DRD2 gene, the Ser9Gly polymorphism of the DRD3 gene, and the Val81Met and PstI site polymorphisms in the TH gene were genotyped in 257 healthy Japanese subjects. Personality traits were evaluated by using the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R) and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). The associations between gene polymorphisms and the scores for NEO PI-R or Trait Anxiety of STAI were statistically analyzed by one-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) adjusting sex and age. Epistasis was assessed using two-way ANCOVA between the polymorphisms of independent two genes.
In the analysis based on each gene, trends for association were observed between State Anxiety and the DRD2 -141C Ins/Del polymorphism (p = 0.031, uncorrected), and between Trait Anxiety and the DRD2 Ser311Cys or TH PstI site polymorphism (p = 0.048 and 0.041, respectively, uncorrected). In epistatic analysis, a trend for interaction was observed on the scores for Neuroticism and Trait Anxiety between the DRD2 -141C Ins/Del and TH Val81Met polymorphisms (p = 0.015 and 0.010, respectively, uncorrected). However, these differences were insignificant after Bonferroni correction.
The present study did not provide evidence for the association between these dopamine-related genes and personality traits in the Japanese population.
PMCID: PMC1601960  PMID: 17018139
22.  A functional haplotype implicated in vulnerability to develop cocaine dependence is associated with reduced PDYN expression in human brain 
Dynorphin peptides and the kappa opioid receptor play important roles in the rewarding properties of cocaine, heroin and alcohol. We tested polymorphisms of the prodynorphin gene (PDYN) for association with cocaine dependence and cocaine/alcohol codependence. We genotyped six SNPs, located in the promoter region, exon 4 coding and 3′ untranslated region (UTR), in 106 Caucasians and 204 African Americans who were cocaine dependent, cocaine/alcohol codependent or controls. In Caucasians, we found point-wise significant associations of 3′UTR SNPs (rs910080, rs910079, and rs2235749) with cocaine dependence and cocaine/alcohol codependence. These SNPs are in high linkage disequilibrium, comprising a haplotype block. The haplotype CCT was significantly experiment-wise associated with cocaine dependence and with combined cocaine dependence and cocaine/alcohol codependence (FDR, q=0.04 and 0.03, respectively). We investigated allele-specific gene expression of PDYN, using SNP rs910079 as a reporter, in postmortem human brains from eight heterozygous subjects, using SNaPshot assay. There was significantly lower expression for C allele (rs910079), with ratios ranging from 0.48 to 0.78, indicating lower expression of the CCT haplotype of PDYN in both the caudate and nucleus accumbens. Analysis of total PDYN expression in 43 postmortem brains also showed significantly lower levels of preprodynorphin mRNA in subjects having the risk CCT haplotype. This study provides evidence that a 3′UTR PDYN haplotype, implicated in vulnerability to develop cocaine addiction and/or cocaine/alcohol codependence, is related to lower mRNA expression of the PDYN gene in human dorsal and ventral striatum.
PMCID: PMC2778041  PMID: 18923396
Addiction & Substance Abuse; Molecular & Cellular Neurobiology; Neurogenetics; Neurochemistry; Cocaine
23.  Alternative-Splicing in the Exon-10 Region of GABAA Receptor β2 Subunit Gene: Relationships between Novel Isoforms and Psychotic Disorders 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(9):e6977.
Non-coding single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in GABRB2, the gene for β2-subunit of gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptor, have been associated with schizophrenia (SCZ) and quantitatively correlated to mRNA expression and alternative splicing.
Methods and Findings
Expression of the Exon 10 region of GABRB2 from minigene constructs revealed this region to be an “alternative splicing hotspot” that readily gave rise to differently spliced isoforms depending on intron sequences. This led to a search in human brain cDNA libraries, and the discovery of two novel isoforms, β2S1 and β2S2, bearing variations in the neighborhood of Exon-10. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis of postmortem brain samples showed increased β2S1 expression and decreased β2S2 expression in both SCZ and bipolar disorder (BPD) compared to controls. Disease-control differences were significantly correlated with SNP rs187269 in BPD males for both β2S1 and β2S2 expressions, and significantly correlated with SNPs rs2546620 and rs187269 in SCZ males for β2S2 expression. Moreover, site-directed mutagenesis indicated that Thr365, a potential phosphorylation site in Exon-10, played a key role in determining the time profile of the ATP-dependent electrophysiological current run-down.
This study therefore provided experimental evidence for the importance of non-coding sequences in the Exon-10 region in GABRB2 with respect to β2-subunit splicing diversity and the etiologies of SCZ and BPD.
PMCID: PMC2741204  PMID: 19763268
24.  Association of DRD2 and DRD3 Polymorphisms with Parkinson’s Disease in a Multiethnic Consortium 
To examine genetic associations of polymorphisms in the dopamine receptor D2 (DRD2) and D3 (DRD3) genes with risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD).
The study included 1325 newly diagnosed patients with PD and 1735 controls from a consortium of five North American case-control studies. We collected risk factor information by in-person or telephone interview. Six DRD2 and two DRD3 polymorphisms were genotyped using a common laboratory. Odds ratios were estimated using logistic regression.
Among non-Hispanic whites, homozygous carriers of Taq1A DRD2 (rs1800497) polymorphism had an increased risk of PD compared to homozygous wildtype carriers (OR=1.5, 95% CI 1.0–2.3). In contrast, the direction of association for Taq1A polymorphism was opposite for African Americans, showing an inverse association with PD risk (OR=0.10, 95% CI 0.2–0.7). Among white Hispanics who carried two alleles, the Ser9Gly DRD3 (rs6280) polymorphism was associated with a decreased risk of PD (OR=0.4, 95%CI 0.2–0.8). The inverse association of smoking with PD risk was not modified by any of the DRD2 or DRD3 polymorphisms.
DRD2 polymorphisms are unlikely to be true disease-causing variants; however, three DRD2 polymorphisms (including Taq1A) may be in linkage disequilibrium with possible disease associated variants in the DRD2-ANKK1-NCAM1-TTC12 gene cluster.
PMCID: PMC3155471  PMID: 21663922
Parkinson's disease; dopamine receptor genes; case-control studies; epidemiology
25.  The genetic effects of the dopamine D1 receptor gene on chicken egg production and broodiness traits 
BMC Genetics  2010;11:17.
The elevation of egg production and the inhibition of incubation behavior are the aims of modern poultry production. Prolactin (PRL) gene is confirmed to be critical for the onset and maintenance of these reproductive behaviors in birds. Through PRL, dopamine D1 receptor (DRD1) was also involved in the regulation of chicken reproductive behavior. However, the genetic effects of this gene on chicken egg production and broodiness have not been studied extensively. The objective of this research was to evaluate the genetic effects of the DRD1 gene on chicken egg production and broodiness traits.
In this study, the chicken DRD1 gene was screened for the polymorphisms by cloning and sequencing and 29 variations were identified in 3,342 bp length of this gene. Seven single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) among these variations, including a non-synonymous mutation (A+505G, Ser169Gly), were located in the coding region and were chosen to analyze their association with chicken egg production and broodiness traits in 644 Ningdu Sanhuang individuals. Two SNPs, G+123A and C+1107T, were significantly associated with chicken broody frequency (P < 0.05). Significant association was also found between the G+1065A - C+1107T haplotypes and chicken broody frequency (P < 0.05). In addition, the haplotypes of G+123A and T+198C were significantly associated with weight of first egg (EW) (P = 0.03). On the other hand, the distribution of the DRD1 mRNA was observed and the expression difference was compared between broodiness and non-broodiness chickens. The DRD1 mRNA was predominantly expressed in subcutaneous fat and abdominal fat of non-broodiness chicken, and then in heart, kidney, oviduct, glandular stomach, hypothalamus, and pituitary. In subcutaneous fat and abdominal fat, the level of non-broodiness was 26 to 28 times higher than that of broodiness. In pituitary, it was 5-fold higher. In heart, oviduct, and kidney, a 2-3 times decrease from non-broodiness to broodiness was displayed. In glandular stomach and hypothalamus, the level seen in non-broodiness and broodiness was almost the same.
The polymorphisms of the DRD1 gene and their haplotypes were associated with chicken broody frequency and some egg production traits. The mRNA distribution was significant different between broodiness and non-broodiness chickens.
PMCID: PMC2848132  PMID: 20199684

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