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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Scrutiny of the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 smoking behavior locus reveals a

The CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 gene cluster on chromosome 15q25.1 encoding the cholinergic nicotinic receptor subunits is robustly associated with smoking behavior and nicotine dependence. Only a few studies to date have examined the locus with alcohol related traits and found evidence of association with alcohol abuse and dependence. Our main goal was to examne the role of three intensively studied single nucleide polymorphisms, rs16969968, rs578776 and rs588765, tagging three distinct loci, in alcohol use.
Our sample was drawn from two independent Finnish population-based surveys, the National FINRISK Study and the Health 2000 (Health Examination) Survey. The combined sample included a total of 32,592 adult Finns
(54% women) of whom 8,356 were assessed for cigarettes per day (CPD). Data on alcohol use were available for 31,812 individuals.

We detected a novel association between rs588765 and alcohol use defined as abstainers and low-frequency drinkers versus drinkers (OR=1.15, p=0.00007). Additionally, we provide precise estimates of strength of the association between the three loci and smoking quantity in a very large population based sample.

As a conclusion, our results provide further evidence for the nicotine-specific role of rs16969968 (locus 1). Further, our data suggest that the effect of rs588765  (locus 3) may be specific to alcohol use as the effect is seen also in never smokers


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