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Hutchison KE, Haughey H, Niculescu M, et al. The Incentive Salience of Alcohol: Translating the Effects of Genetic Variant in CNR1. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008;65(7):841–850. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.65.7.841
The gene that codes for cannabinoid receptor 1 (CNR1) represents an important target for investigations designed to elucidate individual differences in the etiology of alcohol dependence.
To achieve a better understanding of the role of the CNR1 gene in the etiology and treatment of alcohol dependence.
The present investigation spans multiple levels of analysis, including receptor binding in postmortem brain tissue, neuroimaging, human laboratory models, and analyses of treatment outcome data.
Findings indicate that the C allele of rs2023239 is associated with greater CB1 binding in the prefrontal cortex, greater alcohol cue–elicited brain activation in the midbrain and prefrontal cortex, greater subjective reward when consuming alcohol, and more positive outcomes after treatment with a medication that targets the mesocorticolimbic neurocircuitry. In addition, there were strong correlations between cue-elicited brain activation and alcohol consumption measures in individuals with the C allele.
Individuals with the C allele may be more susceptible to changes in the mesocorticolimbic neurocircuitry that is involved in the attribution of incentive salience after repeated exposure to alcohol.
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