Depression in bipolar disorder is clinically indistinguishable from that observed in major depressive disorder. As in major depression, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors targeting brain serotonin transporters are first-line treatments for bipolar depression. Associations of serotonin transporter promoter polymorphisms and bipolarity have been reported; however, research on alterations in serotonergic neurotransmission in bipolar depression remains scant.
To assess in vivo brain serotonin transporter binding potential (BP1, proportional to serotonin transporter number) in patients with bipolar depression and controls and to examine the relationship between serotonin transporter binding and genotype.
A sample of 18 medication-free patients with bipolar depression and 41 controls.
Main Outcome Measures
In vivo brain serotonin transporter binding was measured using positron emission tomography and radiolabeled trans-1,2,3,5,6,10-β-hexahydro-6-[4-(methylthio) phenyl]pyrrolo-[2,1-a]-isoquinoline ([11C](+)-McNeil 5652). Participants were genotyped assessing biallelic and triallelic 5-HTTLPR polymorphisms.
Patients with bipolar disorder had 16% to 26% lower serotonin transporter BP1 in the midbrain, amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, putamen, and anterior cingulate cortex. Triallelic 5-HTTLPR genotypes were unrelated to serotonin transporter BP1.
Lower serotonin transporter BP1 in bipolar depression overlaps with that observed in major depression and suggests that serotonergic dysfunction is common to depressive conditions.
Does cell age matter in virulence? The emergence of persister cells during chronic infections is critical for persistence of infection, but little is known how this occurs. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that the replicative age of the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans contributes to persistence during chronic meningoencephalitis. Generationally older C. neoformans cells are more resistant to hydrogen peroxide stress, macrophage intracellular killing, and antifungal agents. Older cells accumulate in both experimental rat infection and in human cryptococcosis. Mathematical modeling supports the concept that the presence of older C. neoformans cells emerges from in vivo selection pressures. We propose that advanced replicative aging is a new unanticipated virulence trait that emerges during chronic fungal infection and facilitates persistence. Therapeutic interventions that target old cells could help in the clearance of chronic infections.
Our findings that the generational age of Cryptococcus neoformans cells matters in pathogenesis introduces a novel concept to eukaryotic pathogenesis research. We propose that emerging properties of aging C. neoformans cells and possibly also other fungal pathogens contribute to persistence and virulence. Whereas the replicative life span of strains may not matter for virulence per se, age-related resilience and thus the generational age of individual C. neoformans cells within a pathogen population could greatly affect persistence of the pathogen population and therefore impact outcome.
Oxytocin, classically involved in social and reproductive activities, is increasingly recognized as an antinociceptive and anxiolytic agent, effects which may be mediated via oxytocin’s interactions with the dopamine system. Thus, genetic variation within the oxytocin gene (OXT) is likely to explain variability in dopamine-related stress responses. As such, we examined how OXT variation is associated with stress-induced dopaminergic neurotransmission in a healthy human sample.
Fifty-five young healthy volunteers were scanned using [11C] raclopride positron emission tomography while they underwent a standardized physical and emotional stressor that consisted of moderate levels of experimental sustained deep muscle pain, and a baseline, control state. Four haplotype tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms located in regions near OXT were genotyped. Measures of pain, affect, anxiety, well-being and interpersonal attachment were also assessed.
Female rs4813625 C allele carriers demonstrated greater stress-induced dopamine release, measured as reductions in receptor availability from baseline to the pain-stress condition relative to female GG homozygotes. No significant differences were detected among males. We also observed that female rs4813625 C allele carriers exhibited higher attachment anxiety, higher trait anxiety and lower emotional well-being scores. In addition, greater stress-induced dopamine release was associated with lower emotional well-being scores in female rs4813625 C allele carriers.
Our results suggest that variability within the oxytocin gene appear to explain interindividual differences in dopaminergic responses to stress, which are shown to be associated with anxiety traits, including those linked to attachment style, as well as emotional well-being in women.
oxytocin; genetics; dopamine; positron emission tomography; humans; sex differences
This study examined tribal members’ perspectives on alcohol, risk factors, consequences, and community responses. Focus groups were conducted with five American Indian tribes between 1997 and 2001. Participants were knowledgeable of the cultural lives of their reservation communities. Although there was agreement regarding the pervasiveness of heavy drinking, participants reported different opinions about the meaning of alcohol and appropriate intervention strategies. Three dilemmas were identified, suggesting that community ambivalence may serve as a barrier to reducing problem drinking. Implications, limitations, and future research directions are discussed. The study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
American Indian; alcohol; prevention; qualitative research
Although expression patterns of GABAergic genes in rodent brain have largely been elucidated, no comprehensive studies have been performed in human brain. The purpose of this study was to identify global patterns of GABAergic gene expression in healthy adults, including trans and cis effects in the GABAA gene clusters, before determining the effects of chronic alcohol and cocaine exposure on gene expression in the hippocampus. RNA-Seq data from ‘BrainSpan’ was obtained across 16 brain regions from postmortem samples from nine adults. A factor analysis was performed on global expression of 21 GABAergic pathway genes. Factor specificity for response to chronic alcohol/cocaine exposure was subsequently determined from the analysis of RNA-Seq data from postmortem hippocampus of eight alcoholics, eight cocaine addicts and eight controls. Six gene expression factors were identified. Most genes loaded (≥0.5) onto one factor; six genes loaded onto two. The largest factor (0.30 variance) included the chromosome 5 gene cluster that encodes the most common GABAA receptor, α1β2γ2, and genes encoding the α3β3γ2 receptor. Genes within this factor were largely unresponsive to chronic alcohol/cocaine exposure. In contrast, the chromosome 4 gene cluster factor (0.14 variance) encoding the α2β1γ1 receptor was influenced by chronic alcohol/cocaine exposure. Two other factors (0.17 and 0.06 variance) showed expression changes in alcoholics/cocaine addicts; these factors included genes involved in GABA synthesis and synaptic transport. Finally there were two factors that included genes with exceptionally low (0.10 variance) and high (0.09 variance) expression in the cerebellum; the former factor was unaffected by alcohol/cocaine exposure. This study has shown that there appears to be specificity of GABAergic gene groups, defined by covariation in expression, for response to chronic alcohol/cocaine exposure. These findings might have implications for combating stress-related craving and relapse.
Neural systems that identify and respond to salient stimuli are critical for survival in a complex and changing environment. In addition, interindividual differences, including genetic variation, hormonal, and metabolic status likely influence the behavioral strategies and neuronal responses to environmental challenges. Here we examined the relationship between leptin allelic variation and plasma leptin levels with DAD2/3R availability in vivo as measured with [11C]raclopride Positron Emission Tomography (PET) at baseline and during a standardized pain stress challenge. Allelic variation in the leptin gene was associated with varying levels of DA release in response to the pain stressor, but not with baseline D2/3 receptor availability. Circulating leptin was also positively associated with stress-induced dopamine release. These results show that leptin serves as a regulator of neuronal function in humans and provides an etiological mechanism for differences in dopamine neurotransmission in response to salient stimuli as related to metabolic function. The capacity for leptin to influence stress-induced dopaminergic function is of importance for pathological states where dopamine is thought to play an integral role, such as mood, substance use disorders, eating disorders, and obesity.
Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is involved in stress regulation. Genetic variations predict plasma NPY and neural correlates of emotion and stress. We examined whether the functional NPY haplotype modulates stress-induced NPY and anxiety responses, and if plasma NPY stress responses are associated with substance dependence outcomes.
Thirty-seven treatment-engaged, abstinent substance dependent patients (SD) and 28 controls (HC) characterized on NPY diplotypes (HH: high expression; HLLL: intermediate/low expression) were exposed to stress, alcohol/drug cues and neutral relaxing cues, using individualized guided imagery, in a 3-session laboratory experiment. Plasma NPY, heart rate and anxiety were assessed. Patients were prospectively followed for 90-days post-treatment to assess relapse outcomes.
HH individuals showed significantly lower stress-induced NPY with greater heart rate and anxiety ratings, while the HLLL group showed the reverse pattern of NPY, anxiety and heart rate responses. This differential genetic modulation of NPY stress response was suppressed in the SD group, who showed no stress-related increases in NPY and higher heart rate and greater anxiety, regardless of diplotype. Lower NPY predicted subsequent higher number of days and greater amounts of post-treatment drug use.
These preliminary findings are the first to document chronic drug abuse influences on NPY diplotype expression where NPY diplotype modulation of stress-related plasma NPY, heart rate and anxiety responses was absent in the substance abuse sample. The finding that lower stress-related NPY is predictive of greater relapse severity provides support for therapeutic development of neuropeptide Y targets in the treatment of substance use disorders.
Neuropepetide Y; Functional Haplotype; Stress; Substance Use Disorders
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.
imaging; dopamine; DLPFC; reward; emotion
Alcoholism is a significant public health problem. A picture of the genetic architecture underlying alcohol-related phenotypes is emerging from genome-wide association studies and work on genetically tractable model organisms.
Addiction; alcohol sensitivity; disease susceptibility; genome-wide association studies; human genetics; model organisms
Abnormalities of motivation and behavior in the context of reward are a fundamental component of addiction and mood disorders. Here we test the effect of a functional missense mutation in the dopamine 3 receptor (DRD3) gene (ser9gly, rs6280) on reward-associated dopamine (DA) release in the striatum. Twenty-six healthy controls (HCs) and 10 unmedicated subjects with major depressive disorder (MDD) completed two positron emission tomography (PET) scans with [11C]raclopride using the bolus plus constant infusion method. On one occasion subjects completed a sensorimotor task (control condition) and on another occasion subjects completed a gambling task (reward condition). A linear regression analysis controlling for age, sex, diagnosis, and self-reported anhedonia indicated that during receipt of unpredictable monetary reward the glycine allele was associated with a greater reduction in D2/3 receptor binding (i.e., increased reward-related DA release) in the middle (anterior) caudate (p<0.01) and the ventral striatum (p<0.05). The possible functional effect of the ser9gly polymorphism on DA release is consistent with previous work demonstrating that the glycine allele yields D3 autoreceptors that have a higher affinity for DA and display more robust intracellular signaling. Preclinical evidence indicates that chronic stress and aversive stimulation induce activation of the DA system, raising the possibility that the glycine allele, by virtue of its facilitatory effect on striatal DA release, increases susceptibility to hyperdopaminergic responses that have previously been associated with stress, addiction, and psychosis.
Mesoaccumbal and nigrostriatal projections are sensitive to stress, and heightened stress sensitivity is thought to confer risk for neuropsychiatric disorders. Serotonin 2C (5-HT2C) receptors mediate the inhibitory effects of serotonin on dopaminergic circuitry in experimental animals, and preclinical findings have implicated 5-HT2C receptors in motivated behaviors and psychotropic drug mechanisms. In humans, a common missense single-nucleotide change (rs6318, Cys23Ser) in the 5-HT2C receptor gene (HTR2C) has been associated with altered activity in vitro and with clinical mood disorders. We hypothesized that dopaminergic circuitry would be more sensitive to stress in humans carrying the Ser23 variant. To test this hypothesis, we studied 54 healthy humans using positron emission tomography and the displaceable D2/D3 receptor radiotracer [11C]raclopride. Binding potential (BPND) was quantified before and after a standardized stress challenge consisting of 20 minutes of moderate deep muscular pain, and reduction in BPND served as an index of dopamine release. The Cys23Ser variant was genotyped on a custom array, and ancestry informative markers were used to control for population stratification. We found greater dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens, caudate nucleus, and putamen among Ser23 carriers, after controlling for sex, age, and ancestry. Genotype accounted for 12% of the variance in dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens. There was no association of Cys23Ser with baseline BPND. These findings indicate that a putatively functional HTR2C variant (Ser23) is associated with greater striatal dopamine release during pain in healthy humans. Mesoaccumbal stress sensitivity may mediate the effects of HTR2C variation on risk of neuropsychiatric disorders.
Previous studies have suggested that polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) influences responses to serotonergic manipulation, with opposite effects in patients recovered from depression (rMDD) and controls. Here we sought to clarify the neurocognitive mechanisms underpinning these surprising results. Twenty controls and 23 rMDD subjects completed the study; functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and genotype data were available for 17 rMDD subjects and 16 controls. Following tryptophan or sham depletion, subjects performed an emotional-processing task during fMRI. Although no genotype effects on mood were identified, significant genotype*diagnosis*depletion interactions were observed in the hippocampus and subgenual cingulate in response to emotionally valenced words. In both regions, tryptophan depletion increased responses to negative words, relative to positive words, in high-expression controls, previously identified as being at low-risk for mood change following this procedure. By contrast, in higher-risk low-expression controls and high-expression rMDD subjects, tryptophan depletion had the opposite effect. Increased neural responses to negative words following tryptophan depletion may reflect an adaptive mechanism promoting resilience to mood change following perturbation of the serotonin system, which is reversed in sub-groups vulnerable to developing depressive symptoms. However, this interpretation is complicated by our failure to replicate previous findings of increased negative mood following tryptophan depletion.
Depression; serotonin transporter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR); acute tryptophan depletion; functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); emotional processing
The Revised Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R) has shown a moderate association with violence. The efficacy of PCL-R in varying monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) genotypes is, however, unexamined. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of PCL-R and psychopathy on the risk for violent reconvictions among 167 MAOA genotyped alcoholic offenders. Violent reconvictions and PCL-R scores among violent offenders were assessed after a 7-year non-incarcerated follow-up. Regression analysis was used to evaluate the alcohol exposure and age-adjusted effect of PCL-R score and psychopathy on the risk for reconvictions among differing MAOA genotypes. Results suggest that the PCL-R total score predicts impulsive reconvictions among high-activity MAOA offenders (6.8% risk increase for every one-point increase in PCL-R total score, P=0.015), but not among low-activity MAOA offenders, whereas antisocial behavior and attitudes predicted reconvictions in both genotypes (17% risk increase among high-activity MAOA offenders and 12.8% increase among low-activity MAOA offenders for every one-point increase in factor 2 score). Both narcissistic self-image with related interpersonal style (factor 1 score) and psychopathy (PCL-R≥30) failed to predict future violence. Results suggest that the efficacy of PCL-R is altered by MAOA genotype, alcohol exposure, and age, which seems important to note when PCL-R is used for risk assessments that will have legal or costly preventive work consequences.
Monoamine oxidase; Psychopathology; Antisocial personality disorder; Borderline personality disorder; Personality inventory; Violent crimes; Alcoholism
The short allele of the serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) moderates the effects of stress on vulnerability to mood and anxiety disorders. The mechanism by which this occurs may relate to differential sensitivity to stressful life events. Here we explored whether 5-HTTLPR and sex affected behavioral responses to repeated maternal separation in infant rhesus macaques. Behaviors were collected during the acute (Day 1) and the chronic (Days 2–4) phases of the separation, and the effects of duration of separation (acute vs. chronic), genotype (long/long vs. short allele), and sex (male vs. female) on behavioral responses were analyzed across four successive separations. Males increased their levels of locomotion with repeated maternal separation, whereas females exhibited an increase in frequency of self-directed behavior, a measure of “depression-like” behavior. The short-allele predicted increased environmental exploration, particularly during the chronic phase of social separation, indicative of higher arousal. In addition, the short-allele carriers were more likely to increase their levels of self-directed behavior during the chronic phase of separation, as a function of repeated exposures. These findings suggest that the short allele may increase reactivity to repeated, chronic stressors, leaving them more vulnerable to affective psychopathology, with females particularly vulnerable.
Childhood trauma is associated with hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis dysregulation. Both factors increase risk for suicidal behavior. Corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) regulates the HPA axis and its actions are moderated by a high-affinity binding protein (CRHBP). We hypothesized that CRHBP variation and interaction with childhood trauma might influence suicidal behavior. Moreover, there might be an additive effect with FKPB5, another HPA axis gene previously associated with suicidality in this dataset. African Americans were recruited: 398 treatment seeking patients with substance dependence (90% men; 120 suicide attempters) and 432 non-substance dependent individuals (40% men; 21 suicide attempters). A total of 474 participants (112 suicide attempters) completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ). Haplotype-tagging SNPs were genotyped across CRHBP and, for completeness, across CRH, CRHR1 and CRHR2. FKBP5 genotypes were available. Three CRHBP SNPs rs6453267, rs7728378 and rs10474485 showed a nominally significant interaction with the continuous CTQ score to predict suicide attempt; rs7728378 remained significant after FDR correction. There was an additive effect with FKBP5: in the group exposed to high trauma, the prevalence of suicide attempt was 0.35–0.30 in carriers of either the FKBP5 rs3800373 major homozygote or the CRHBP rs7728378 major homozygote and 0.58 in carriers of both major homozygotes. Individuals without either major homozygote were resilient to the effects of childhood trauma (suicide attempt prevalence 0.24). Main effects of CRHBP rs6453267 and CRHR1 rs9900679, both unique to African ancestry, were detected. CRHBP variation may predispose, independently and additively, to suicidal behavior in individuals who have experienced childhood trauma.
African Americans; Substance dependence; CTQ; CRH; CRHR1; CRHR2
Substance use disorder; Heritability; MAOA; COMT; HTR2B
Inflammatory cytokines including the IL-1 family, TNF-α and IL-6 mediate the formation of thrombosis on the luminal surface of atherosclerotic plaques. Gene polymorphisms that regulate these cytokines’ expression may explain part of the variation in susceptibility to stroke in patients with carotid atherosclerosis. The aim of this study is to evaluate the role of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and haplotypes in inflammatory genes as they relate to symptomatic carotid atherosclerosis.
The study included 95 subjects with symptomatic (transient ischemic attacks (TIA) or stroke) and 113 subjects with asymptomatic carotid atherosclerotic disease. A panel of evenly spaced SNPs including previously reported functionally significant polymorphisms were genotyped for IL-1β (10 SNPs), IL-1α (9 SNPs), IL-1RN (11 SNPs), IL-6 (7 SNPs) and TNF-α and TNF-β (7 SNPs).
Using single SNP analysis, IL-1RN rs315934 (p=0.025), IL-1RN rs315946 (p=0.042), IL-1RN rs315921 (p=0.035), IL-6 rs1180243 (p=0.018), and IL-1α rs2071373 (p=0.025) were associated with decreased odds of symptomatic carotid disease. Additionally, two diplotypes of the IL-1RN gene (p=0.023 and p=0.0064) and one diplotype in the IL-1α gene (p=0.02) were associated with a protective affect from cerebral ischemic events. Logistic analysis for interaction of the protective SNPs reveal an additive effect of all SNP pair combinations.
These results suggest genetic polymorphisms in pro-inflammatory genes may contribute to inter-individual differences in the development of symptomatic carotid atherosclerotic disease.
stroke; atherosclerosis; inflammatory; immune genes; single nucleotide polymorphism; haplotype
Childhood trauma may predispose individuals to aggressive behavior, and both childhood trauma and aggressive behavior are associated with hypothalamicpituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation.
To determine whether there would be an interaction between genetic variation in FKBP5 and childhood trauma in predicting aggressive behavior.
Cross-sectional study. Four FKBP5 single-nucleotide polymorphisms used in previous studies (rs3800373, rs9296158, rs1360780, and rs9470080) were genotyped. Three diplotypes were derived from 2 major putatively functional haplotypes regulating protein expression that were previously associated with glucocorticoid receptor sensitivity.
Penitentiary District of Abruzzo-Molise in central Italy.
A population of 583 male Italian prisoners recruited between 2005 and 2008.
Main Outcome Measures
A comprehensive analysis of aggression and impulsivity was undertaken using the Brown-Goodwin Lifetime History of Aggression (BGHA) questionnaire, the Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory (BDHI), and the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS). A history of childhood trauma was investigated with the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. The interaction between the FKBP5 diplotypes and childhood trauma on measures of aggression was analyzed. Analyses were replicated with a second behavioral measure of aggression: violent behavior in jail. Individual single-nucleotide polymorphism analysis was performed.
Childhood trauma had a significant effect on BGHA and BDHI scores but not on BIS scores. We observed a significant influence of the FKBP5 high-expression diplotype on both a lifetime history of aggressive behavior (BGHA) (P = .012) and violent behavior in jail (P = .025) but only in individuals exposed to childhood trauma, in particular to physical abuse. No main effect of the FKBP5 diplotypes was observed.
These data suggest that childhood trauma and variants in the FKBP5 gene may interact to increase the risk of overt aggressive behavior.
Emotion is critical to most aspects of human behavior, and individual differences in systems recruited to process emotional stimuli, expressed as variation in emotionality, are characteristic of several neuropsychiatric disorders. We examine the genetic origins of individual differences in emotion processing by focusing on functional variants at five genes: catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT), serotonin transporter (SLC6A4), neuropeptide Y (NPY), a glucocorticoid receptor-regulating co-chaperone of stress proteins (FKBP5) and pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP). These represent a range of effects of genes on emotion as well as the variety of mechanisms and factors, such as stress, that modify these effects. The new genomic era of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and deep sequencing may yield a wealth of new loci modulating emotion. The effects of these genes can be validated by neuroimaging, neuroendocrine and other studies accessing intermediate phenotypes, deepening our understanding of mechanisms of emotion and variation in emotionality.
Addictive disorders are partly heritable, chronic, relapsing conditions that account for a tremendous disease burden. Currently available addiction pharmacotherapies are only moderately successful, continue to be viewed with considerable scepticism outside the scientific community and have not become widely adopted as treatments. More effective medical treatments are needed to transform addiction treatment and address currently unmet medical needs. Emerging evidence from alcoholism research suggests that no single advance can be expected to fundamentally change treatment outcomes. Rather, studies of opioid, corticotropin-releasing factor, GABA and serotonin systems suggest that incremental advances in treatment outcomes will result from an improved understanding of the genetic heterogeneity among patients with alcohol addiction, and the development of personalized treatments.
Schizophrenia and nicotine addiction are both highly heritable phenotypes. Because individuals with schizophrenia have a higher rate of smoking than those in the general population, one could hypothesize that genes associated with smoking might be over-represented in schizophrenia and thus help explain their increased smoking incidence. Although a number of genes have been proposed to explain the increased smoking risk in schizophrenia, none of them have been consistently linked to smoking and schizophrenia and thus difficult to explain the increased smoking in schizophrenia. A functional smoking-related nicotinic acetylcholine receptor α5 subunit gene (CHRNA5) nonsynonymous SNP rs16969968 (Asp398Asn) has recently been discovered and replicated. As such, we tested whether this variant contributes to smoking in schizophrenia in a sample of 313 schizophrenia patients and 525 controls. The Asp398Asn risk allele is significantly associated with smoking severity independently in schizophrenia patient smokers (p=0.001) and in control smokers (p=0.029). Furthermore, the same risk allele is significantly associated with schizophrenia in both Caucasian (p=0.022) and African American (p=0.006) nonsmoker schizophrenia patients compared to control nonsmokers. Intriguing, this SNP was not significantly associated with smoking status (smokers vs. nonsmokers) in either schizophrenia patients or controls. Therefore, our study identifies a genetic variant that is simultaneously linked to smoking and schizophrenia in the same cohort, but whether and how this SNP contributes to the increased smoking prevalence in schizophrenia patients requires additional studies.
smoking; nicotine addiction; schizophrenia; nAChR; alpha5; comorbidity
As a model organism in biomedicine, the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) is the most widely used nonhuman primate. Although a draft genome sequence was completed in 2007, there has been no systematic genome-wide comparison of genetic variation of this species to humans. Comparative analysis of functional and nonfunctional diversity in this highly abundant and adaptable non-human primate could inform its use as a model for human biology, and could reveal how variation in population history and size alters patterns and levels of sequence variation in primates.
We sequenced the mRNA transcriptome and H3K4me3-marked DNA regions in hippocampus from 14 humans and 14 rhesus macaques. Using equivalent methodology and sampling spaces, we identified 462,802 macaque SNPs, most of which were novel and disproportionately located in the functionally important genomic regions we had targeted in the sequencing. At least one SNP was identified in each of 16,797 annotated macaque genes. Accuracy of macaque SNP identification was conservatively estimated to be >90%. Comparative analyses using SNPs equivalently identified in the two species revealed that rhesus macaque has approximately three times higher SNP density and average nucleotide diversity as compared to the human. Based on this level of diversity, the effective population size of the rhesus macaque is approximately 80,000 which contrasts with an effective population size of less than 10,000 for humans. Across five categories of genomic regions, intergenic regions had the highest SNP density and average nucleotide diversity and CDS (coding sequences) the lowest, in both humans and macaques. Although there are more coding SNPs (cSNPs) per individual in macaques than in humans, the ratio of dN/dS is significantly lower in the macaque. Furthermore, the number of damaging nonsynonymous cSNPs (have damaging effects on protein functions from PolyPhen-2 prediction) in the macaque is more closely equivalent to that of the human.
This large panel of newly identified macaque SNPs enriched for functionally significant regions considerably expands our knowledge of genetic variation in the rhesus macaque. Comparative analysis reveals that this widespread, highly adaptable species is approximately three times as diverse as the human but more closely equivalent in damaging variation.
Rhesus macaque; Human; Single nucleotide polymorphism; Diversity; Comparative genomics
The μ-opioid receptor is involved in the rewarding effects of not only opioids like morphine but also psychostimulants like amphetamine. This study aimed to investigate associations between subjective response to amphetamine and genetic polymorphisms and haplotypes in the μ-opioid receptor including the exonic variant rs1799971 (Asp40Asn). 162 Caucasian volunteers participated in three sessions receiving either placebo or d-amphetamine (10 and 20 mg). Associations between levels of self-reported Euphoria, Energy and Stimulation (ARCI-49) after d-amphetamine ingestion and polymorphisms in OPRM1 were investigated. The intronic SNPs rs510769 and rs2281617 were associated with significantly higher ratings of Euphoria, Energy and Stimulation after 10 mg amphetamine. Feelings of Euphoria, Energy and Stimulation were also found to be associated with a 2-SNP haplotype formed with rs1799971 and rs510769 and a 3-SNP haplotype formed with rs1918760, rs2281617 and rs1998220. These results support the hypothesis that genetic variability in the μ-opioid receptor gene influences the subjective effects of amphetamine and may suggest new strategies for prevention and treatment of psychostimulant abuse.
amphetamine; euphoria; energy; stimulation; μ-opioid receptor; inter-individual differences
The 5-HT3 receptor is rapidly potentiated by ethanol and mediates fast excitatory 5-HT transmission that modulates dopamine release in the reward circuitry. The 5-HT transporter regulates synaptic 5-HT availability. Functional polymorphisms in genes encoding the transporter and receptor may therefore influence addiction vulnerability. In this study, 360 treatment-seeking African American male patients with single and comorbid DSM-IV lifetime diagnoses of alcohol, cocaine and heroin dependence and 187 African American male controls were genotyped for the triallelic 5-HTTLPR functional polymorphism in the 5-HT transporter gene (SLC6A4) and 16 haplotype-tagging SNPs across HTR3B (including the functional rs1176744 Tyr129Ser) and HTR3A, genes encoding 5-HT3 receptors. The HTR3B rs1176744 gain of function Ser129 allele predicted alcohol dependence (p = 0.002) and low 5-HTTLPR activity predicted cocaine/heroin dependence (p = 0.01). Both the HTR3B Ser129 allele (p = 0.014, OR = 1.7 [1.1–2.6]) and low 5-HTTLPR activity (p = 0.011, OR = 2.5 [1.3–4.6]) were more common in men with alcohol + drug dependence compared with controls. Moreover, the HTR3B Ser129 allele and low 5-HTTLPR activity had an additive (but not an interactive) effect on alcohol + drug dependence (OR = 6.0 [2.1–16.6]) that accounted for 13% of the variance. One possible explanation of our findings is that increased synaptic 5-HT coupled with increased 5-HT3 receptor responsiveness may result in enhanced dopamine transmission in the reward pathway, a predictor of increased risk for addiction. Our results may have pharmacogenetic implications for 5-HT3 therapeutic antagonists such as ondansetron.
5-HTTLPR; HTR3B; rs1176744; alcoholism; cocaine; heroin