Genes Play a Large Role in Opioid Dependence

dna“There is reason to think that opioid dependence is at least 60 percent inherited. Now a genomewide association study appears to have led to the identification of major genes contributing to this risk.

Some major genes that contribute to the risk for opioid dependence appear to have been identified. The genes make proteins that influence calcium signaling or potassium signaling within neurons.

The lead scientist, Joel Gelernter, M.D., a professor of psychiatry, genetics, and neurobiology at Yale University, told Psychiatric News that he was surprised by this finding. He had expected genes that code for opioid receptors to turn out to be major contributors, he said. But that was not the case.

Gelernter and his coworkers conducted a genomewide association study to see whether they could significantly link any gene variants with a risk for opioid dependence. They used a relatively large sample—some 5,700 subjects (over a third with opioid dependence and the rest controls). Afterward they conducted two more studies—one with some 4,000 subjects and the other with some 2,500 ones—to see whether they could replicate their initial findings.

They were able to link variants of a number of genes with a risk for opioid dependence. But the variants that were most strongly associated with opioid dependence risk were those from genes involved in calcium or potassium signaling within neurons.”

http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/newsarticle.aspx?articleid=1820456

Source: Psychiatryonline.org – January 28, 2014

Genes May Influence Reactions to Painkillers – Identical Twins Responded Similarly When it Came to Side Effects, Addiction Risk, Study Found

Genetics play a major role in a person’s risk for addiction or unpleasant side effects when taking opioid painkillers, new research suggests.

 Genetics accounted for 36 percent of drug disliking and 26 percent of drug liking, which are measures of addiction risk, according to the study published online June 20 in the journal Anesthesiology.

 “The study is a significant step forward in efforts to understand the basis of individual variability in response to opioids, and to eventually personalize opioid treatment plans for patients,” Dr. Martin Angst, one of the two principal investigators, said in a Stanford news release.

 http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=665870#.T-ME4ZqiVOE.email

 Source: HealthDay.com – June 21, 2012

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