A genetic variant of a receptor in the brain’s reward circuitry plays an important role in determining whether the neurotransmitter dopamine is released in the brain following alcohol intake, according to a study led by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health. Dopamine is involved in transmitting the euphoria and other positive subjective effects produced by alcohol.
A report of the findings, which help explain the diverse genetic susceptibility for alcohol use disorders, will appear online in Molecular Psychiatry on May 18, 2010. . . . . .