Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chromosome four contains genes that affect drinking behaviors in smokers

15.12.2005


  • Alcoholism is a complex behavior that draws from both environmental and genetic factors.
  • Researchers have found in a sample of smokers chromosomal regions that affect patterns of drinking behavior.
  • These findings support results from previous research that link alcohol metabolism genes on chromosomes two and four with alcohol consumption.

Researchers firmly believe that alcoholism is a complex behavior that draws from both environmental and genetic factors. A recent examination of families selected for their smoking behavior has identified the same region of chromosome four that was identified by earlier studies as being linked to the initiation of alcohol consumption. Results are published in the December issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.



"It is commonly observed that people that drink also smoke and vice versa," explained Kirk C. Wilhelmsen, associate professor in the departments of genetics and neurology at the University of North Carolina as well as corresponding author for the study. "This suggested to us that families selected for smoking behavior would also have an increased incidence of drinking behavior."

"Twin studies of alcohol consumption have a long history and were the first to suggest the importance of genetic factors in alcohol use and alcoholism," added Gary E. Swan, director of the Center for Health Sciences at SRI International and also an author of the study. "The identification of linkages between specific genomic regions of interest and alcohol use and abuse is an area of science that has been active for about seven years. A consistent finding from these studies is the linkage between a region of chromosome four containing several genes that produce enzymes involved in the metabolism of alcohol and families with a high frequency of alcohol abuse."


Using data collected in an ongoing interdisciplinary study of environmental and genetic determinants of tobacco use conducted at the Oregon Research Institute under the direction of Dr. Hyman Hops, another author of the study, researchers examined 158 nuclear families that were determined to have at least two first-degree relatives who had smoked 100 or more cigarettes in their lifetime. Genotypes were determined from blood DNA taken from each family participant and analyzed for linkages to selected phenotypes.

"We looked for chromosome regions that had genes that affect patterns of drinking behavior," said Wilhelmsen. "The locations with the strongest evidence were the same places that were previously found in other linkage studies looking for loci that affect alcoholism, although we found evidence that these loci affect drinking behavior less severely than for alcoholism." Wilhelmsen is referring to one locus on chromosome two, and two loci on chromosome four.

"These findings are significant because the families in this study were selected by virtue of their use of tobacco rather than for excessive drinking and alcoholism, which have been the selection traits in previous linkage studies," said Swan. "Furthermore, the consistency of this result across study samples strongly suggests that variations in genes for alcohol metabolism play a role in determining who will go on to regular consumption of alcoholic beverages after initial exposure, and who is at risk for alcoholism."

"Our work provides evidence that variations in genes in a particular region affect drinking behavior," said Wilhelmsen, "which will encourage further work to identify the genes that are involved. When these genes are identified, and their normal function deduced, we will have a better understanding of the biology of drinking behavior. This may lead to new therapeutic approaches to treat alcoholism."

Swan concurs, however, he said that the study is suggestive rather than conclusive. "As with all studies of this sort, the findings need to be confirmed in other, nonclinical samples," he said. "The reader should also know that many genes are likely to be involved in alcoholism, and that genetic effects most likely interact with the effects of the environment to increase risk for alcohol abuse. The overall genetic signal observed in this study was modest which suggests the presence of other factors, both genetic and environmental in nature."

Wilhelmsen said that he and his colleagues have already begun to systematically search for DNA sequence changes in the same chromosome regions that affect drinking behavior.

Swan suggested that future research also include certain biological or physiological measures in the assessment of families. "This will help to more directly quantify alcohol metabolism along with specific measures of environmental risk such as stress," he said. "These measures can then be examined in linkage analyses to test the hypothesis that a metabolic substrate determines alcohol consumption and that environmental factors mediate the effects of genetic factors."

Kirk C. Wilhelmsen | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.med.unc.edu
http://www.sri.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Embryonic development: How do limbs develop from cells?
18.05.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

nachricht Reading histone modifications, an oncoprotein is modified in return
18.05.2018 | American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>