Vol. 5, No. 2, 1999 Page 7

Gene variant linked to antisocial alcoholism

New research indicates that a specific serotonin receptor gene variant is linked to antisocial alcoholism.

Jaakko Lappalainen and colleagues studied 640 Finnish subjects, including 166 alcoholic criminal offenders, 261 relatives, and 213 control subjects. In addition, they studied 418 members of a multigenerational American Indian family. In both groups, the r researchers say, antisocial alcoholism was strongly linked to a variant of the serotonin 5-HT1B receptor gene.

The researchers note that previous studies have shown an association between antisocial alcoholism and abnormalities in serotonin function; for instance, they say, “low cerebrospinal fluid concentration of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, the major metabolite of serotonin, has been found in early-onset antisocial alcoholics, impulsive alcoholic criminals, and alcoholic fire setters.” In addition, Lappalainen et al. note, studies of mice bred to lack the 5-HT1B r receptor gene show that they are more aggressive than other mice, and consume greater amounts of alcohol.


“Linkage of antisocial alcoholism to the serotonin 5-HT1B receptor gene in 2 populations,” Jaakko Lappalainen, Jeffrey C. Long, Monica Eggert, Norio Ozaki, Robert W. Robin, Gerald L. Brown, Hannu Naukkarinen, Matti Virkkunen, Markku Linnoila, and David Go oldman, Archives of General Psychiatry, Vol. 55, November 1998, pp. 989-994. Address: Jeffrey C. Long, Section of Population Genetics and Linkage, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism/Laboratory of Neuro-genetics, 12501 Washington Ave enue, Rockville, MD 20852.

Related Article: [2001, Vol. 7]

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