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Tryptophan hydroxylase 2 gene and alcohol use among college students

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT

Genes that regulate serotonin activity are regarded as promising predictors of heavy alcohol use. Tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH2) plays an important role in serotonergic neurotransmission by serving as the rate-limiting enzyme for serotonin biosynthesis in the midbrain and serotonergic neurons. Despite the link between TPH2 and serotonergic function, TPH2's role in the pathogenesis of alcohol-use disorders remains unclear. The goal of this study was to examine whether a variation in the TPH2 gene is associated with risky alcohol consumption. Specifically, this study examined whether the TPH2 G-703T polymorphism predicted alcohol consumption among college students. In two successive years, 351 undergraduates were asked to record their alcohol use each day for 30 days using an Internet-based electronic diary. Participants' DNA was collected and polymerase chain reaction genotyping was performed. Results show that alcohol consumption was not associated with the TPH2 G-703T polymorphism alone, or the interaction of TPH2 with two other candidate polymorphisms (TPH1 C218A and the SLC6A4 tri-allelic 5-HTTLPR), or negative life events. In conclusion, this study supports recent null findings relating TPH2 to drinking outcomes. It also extends these findings by showing null interactions with the TPH1 C218A polymorphism, the SLC6A4 tri-allelic 5-HTTLPR polymorphism and environmental stressors in predicting sub-clinical alcohol use among Caucasian American young adults.

Keywords: Alcohol; TPH2; college drinking; gene-environment interaction; heavy drinking; tryptophan hydroxylase

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1369-1600.2008.00118.x

Affiliations: 1: Public Health Program, Department of Community Medicine and Health Care, University of Connecticut Health Center, USA, 2: Department of Psychology, University of Otage, New Zealand and 3: Alcohol Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut Health Center, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2008

bpl/adb/2008/00000013/F0020003/art00020
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