Genetic studies of alcoholism

Taro Muramatsu, Susumu Higuchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Twin and adoption studies consistently show the involvement of genetic factors in alcoholism. Prevention of this common disease is, at least theoretically, simple: Drink sensibly or abstinence. Accordingly, search for genes related to alcoholism will be of great help in the future preventive activities. 1. Alcohol metabolizing enzymes: Ethanol is eliminated from the body by oxidation to acetaldehyde and then to acetate, reactions catalyzed by alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH2) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2), respectively. The latter gene has a common mutation which leads to inactivation of the enzyme activity. Individuals who have this mutant ailele, ALDH22, are prevented from becoming alcoholics because of acetaldehydemia and associated unpleasant symptoms after drinking. In Japan, approximately 10% of alcoholics have this ailele, compared with approximately 50% of controls. 2. Dopamine system: Because its involvement in reward-seeking behavior, dysfunction of dopamine system could be the biological factor of alcoholism. Thus polymorphic genes of this system have been targets of association studies of alcoholism, with conflicting results, due mostly to the heterogeneity of the disease. One strategy to obtain a homogeneous group is to focus on alcoholics with ALDH2*2 ailele, because these patients should have some strong factor(s) to overcome the negative risk factor. In fact, ailele distributions of dopamine D4 receptor and dopamine transporter differed between this group and control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35
Number of pages1
JournalJapanese Journal of Human Genetics
Volume42
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Alcoholism
Alcoholics
Dopamine
Dopamine D4 Receptors
Genes
Aldehyde Dehydrogenase
Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
Twin Studies
Acetaldehyde
Alcohol Dehydrogenase
Biological Factors
Enzymes
Reward
Drinking
Japan
Acetates
Ethanol
Alcohols
Control Groups
Mutation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)

Cite this

Genetic studies of alcoholism. / Muramatsu, Taro; Higuchi, Susumu.

In: Japanese Journal of Human Genetics, Vol. 42, No. 1, 1997, p. 35.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Muramatsu, Taro ; Higuchi, Susumu. / Genetic studies of alcoholism. In: Japanese Journal of Human Genetics. 1997 ; Vol. 42, No. 1. pp. 35.
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