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Original Article
June 2004

Association of Specific Haplotypes of D2 Dopamine ReceptorGene With Vulnerability to Heroin Dependence in 2 Distinct Populations

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute on AlcoholAbuse and Alcoholism, Rockville, Md (Drs Xu, Lipsky, and Goldman; Mss Ferro,Finch, Terry, and Taubman; and Mr Astor); Department of Psychiatry, Universityof Bonn, Bonn, Germany (Drs Lichtermann, Franke, Schwab, Wildenauer, and Maier);Department of Psychiatry, Sichuan University Medical School, Sichuan, China(Drs Liu and Cao); Laboratory of Population Genetics, National Cancer Institute,Bethesda, Md (Dr Hu); and Departamento de Genetica, Instituto de Biociencias,Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil (Dr Bau).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2004;61(6):597-606. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.61.6.597

Context  Dopamine receptor–mediated pathways play critical roles in the mechanism of addiction. However, associations of the D2 dopamine receptor gene (DRD2) with substance abuse are controversial.

Objective  To determine whether susceptibility sites resided at DRD2.

Design  Haplotype-based case-control analysis of 2 distinct populations using 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with heroin dependence.

Setting  Universities of Mainz and Bonn, Germany, and 3 local hospitals in southwestern China.

Patients  Cases and control subjects recruited from China (486 cases, 313 controls) and Germany (471 cases, 192 controls).

Interventions  Genotyping for 10 SNPs by 5′-exonuclease fluorescence assays. The D′ value of linkage disequilibrium and haplotypes were generated by the expectation-maximization algorithm.

Main Outcome Measures  Genotype, allele, and haplotype frequencies were compared between cases and controls by χ2 tests constructed for each population. An additional 32 SNPs randomly distributed in the genome were genotyped for detecting population admixture in the 2 populations.

Results  A haplotype block of 25.8 kilobases (kb) was defined by 8 SNPs extending from SNP3 (TaqIB) at the 5′ end to SNP10 site (TaqIA) located 10 kb distal to the 3′ end of the gene. Within this block, specific haplotype cluster A (carrying TaqIB1 allele) was associated with a high risk of heroin dependence in Chinese patients (P = 1.425 × 10−22; odds ratio, 52.80; 95% confidence interval, 7.290-382.5 for 8-SNP analysis). A putative recombination "hot spot" was found near SNP6 (intron 6 ins/del G), creating 2 new daughter haplotypes that were associated with a lower risk of heroin dependence in Germans (P = 1.94 × 10−11 for 8-SNP analysis). There was no evidence of population stratification in either population.

Conclusions  These results strongly support a role of DRD2 as a susceptibility gene with heroin dependence in Chinese patients and was associated with low risk of heroin dependence in Germans.