Association of a functional mu-opioid receptor allele (+118A) with alcohol dependency

T. Town, L. Abdullah, F. Crawford, J. Schinka, P. Ordorica, E. Francis, P. Hughes, R. Duara, M. Mullan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Genetic association studies have implicated the TaqI allele of the human dopamine D2 receptor gene (DRD2) as a risk-determining factor for alcohol dependency. However, as alcoholism is a disease of polygenic inheritance, the percentage of overall disease variance explained by the TaqI allele is small. In searching for other genetic loci which may, either alone or in combination with DRD2, enhance prediction of alcoholism, we have found a novel association (by allele, p=.019; by genotype p=.020) between a functional coding variant (+118A) within the human mu-opioid receptor gene and alcohol dependency. In our sample of 122 alcohol dependent patients and 105 epidemiologic- based controls, we find that an approximate 2-fold risk for alcoholism is incurred by the +118A allele. No association was detected between the DRD2 TaqI allele and alcoholism in our sample, nor did we find synergy between +118A and TaqI A1 alleles on prediction of risk for the disease. These results suggest that, at the molecular level, the endogenous mu-opioid receptor system is a contributing factor to the etiology of alcoholism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics - Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 7 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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