Home > Phenotypic heterogeneity in study populations may significantly confound the results of genetic association studies on alcohol dependence.

Ali, M Adam and Way, Michael J and Marks, Michael and Guerrini, Irene and Thomson, Allan D and Strang, John and McQuillin, Andrew and Morgan, Marsha Y (2015) Phenotypic heterogeneity in study populations may significantly confound the results of genetic association studies on alcohol dependence. Psychiatric Genetics , 25 , (6) , pp. 234-40.

BACKGROUND: The interpretation of genetic studies on alcohol dependence may be confounded by the co-occurrence of substance dependence, psychiatric disorders and alcohol-related comorbidities, for example, cirrhosis. Significant single-marker and haplotypic associations between polymorphisms in the zinc finger gene, ZNF699, and alcohol dependence were reported in the Irish Affected Sib Pair Study of Alcohol Dependence population, one-third of whom had co-occurring substance dependence while 80% had identified psychiatric comorbidity. The aim of this study was to explore variant ZNF699 associations with alcohol dependence while exercising controls for potential confounders.

METHODS: The study population was comprised of 1449 alcohol-dependent cases and 1283 population controls; all were of British or Irish ancestry. None of the cases had a history of dependence on other substances, and the frequency of comorbid depression was low. A separate, ancestry-matched cohort of 196 opioid-dependent cases was also included. Genotyping for the four previously identified SNPs of interest in ZNF699 was performed using K-Biosciences Competitive Allele Specific PCR.

RESULTS: No single-marker associations were found between polymorphisms in ZNF699 and alcohol dependence per se. A significant allelic association was found between rs7254880 in ZNF699 and alcohol-related cirrhosis (n=292), using cases with no biopsy evidence of liver disease (n=314) as controls (P=0.013). Significant allelic associations were also found between rs12460279 (P=0.028), rs7252865 (P=0.012) and rs10854142 (P=0.016) in ZNF699 and opioid dependence.

CONCLUSION: Phenotypic variation in study populations may contribute towards the nonreplication of genetic association studies on alcohol dependence; controls for recognised confounding variables should be exercised whenever possible.

Item Type:Article
Date:December 2015
Page Range:pp. 234-40
Publisher:Wolters Kluwer
Related URLs:
Subjects:A Substance use, abuse, and dependence > Prevalence > Substance use behaviour > Alcohol consumption
B Substances > Alcohol
G Health and disease > Disorder by cause > Genetic disorder
G Health and disease > Digestive system disorder > Liver disorder > Liver cirrhosis
R Research > Type of research study > Research involving two or more groups > Cross-cultural study
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
VA Geographic area > Europe > United Kingdom > England

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