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Two recent studies suggest that genotyping may enable clinicians to base therapies on individual patients’ potential responsiveness to opioid drugs’ therapeutic effects and vulnerability to their harmful effects.
One of NIDA’s goals is to try to understand the individual differences that contribute to whether or not someone who takes a drug will become addicted to it. Dr. Rutter’s research focuses on three types of differences: Environmental, developmental, and genetic and epigenetic.
A meta-analysis of 13 genome-wide association studies of African Americans’ smoking patterns confirms the significance of genetic variation in region 15q25.1. The analysis also tentatively implicates several genome locations that have not previously been associated with smoking behaviors.
In a surprising finding, male rats who used cocaine sired male offspring who later exhibited blunted responses to the drug. Researchers determined the cause was an epigenetic alteration.
NIDA-supported research suggests that glucocorticoid receptor levels during early brain development affect the hard wiring of neural circuits that shape an individual’s basic emotional makeup. In mice, overexpression of the glucocorticoid gene in the first weeks after birth increased anxiety and response to cocaine in adulthood. These findings may help researchers understand the genetic background and the developmental trajectory of addiction.
Reports on the relative influence of genes versus environment on adolescents’ choices that involve delayed gratification.
Individuals with weak signaling in a nicotine-sensitive brain circuit were more vulnerable to nicotine dependence than those with stronger signaling, according to a study conducted while the subjects’ brains were in a resting state. A second resting-state study finds that the same circuit appears to mediate dependence associated with a genetic risk factor for smoking.
Reviews research indicating that both parental influence and certain genes interact to influence nicotine addiction and that parental monitoring may play a role in reducing risk.
Highlights NIDA’s research portfolio to identify the genes and genetic processes responsible for a person’s vulnerability to drug abuse.
Describes a literature analysis reporting on the prevalence of people with bipolar disorder who also have a substance use disorder and discusses the genetic link that may contribute to this comorbidity.
Reports study results suggesting that genes for several acetylcholine receptor proteins influence early smoking responses and the likelihood of nicotine dependence.
Commemorates NIDA’s 35th anniversary and highlights some of the major accomplishments since the Institute’s inception in 1974.
Describes research providing evidence that genes may influence how successful a person is in quitting smoking and which cessation technique may work best for them.
Reports on an animal study suggesting that the manic stage of bipolar disorder promotes signs of drug abuse vulnerability by enhancing sensitivity to rewards, both natural and drug-related.
Describes research exploring differences and similarities in the genetic profiles of African-Americans and European-Americans who are heavy smokers.
Presents research findings linking 89 genes to drug abuse and dependence, found using genome-wide association studies, a new technique for identifying genes.
Reports on a study involving researchers who successfully desensitized mice to cocaine by genetically altering their dopamine transporters.
Discusses the role of epigenetics, the study of cellular mechanisms that control gene expression and its impacts on health and behavior, in addiction research.
Describes a study showing that cocaine, which increases dopamine levels, also can tap into an intracellular dopamine reserve pool.
Describes the work of researchers who have found a statistical link between one region on chromosome 17 and an increased risk of opioid dependence.
Reports on the research underway to identify gene variations associated with nicotine addiction and the interaction of genetic makeup, experiences, and surroundings to addiction.