Alcoholism risk linked to gene involved in brain chemistry

earch was done as part of the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism, a 15-year-old project that involves scientists at nine institutions across the country and is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health.

The research team's analysis involved 2282 individuals from 262 families selected for study because they contained at least three alcoholic members. Earlier genetic analyses by this team implicated a particular section of chromosome 4 as affecting both the risk for alcoholism and certain types of brainwave patterns that have been linked to alcoholics. Within that region are genes that make proteins enabling GABA to signal to nerve cells and so do its work in the brain.

The researchers analyzed tiny differences in the sequences of the genes and determined that differences in just one of the GABA-receptor genes, GABRA2, were associated with alcoholism. The same gene was associated with the brainwave patterns.


Contact: Eric Schoch
Indiana University

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