A substantial body of literature suggests that gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) may be involved in the neurochemical pathways contributing to alcohol use and related disorders. Chromosome 5 contains a cluster of GABA(A) receptor genes, GABRA1, GABRA6, GABRB2, and GABRG2, which have been among the most extensively studied in relation to alcohol use. These studies have yielded mixed results. Using data from large, multiplex alcoholic families collected as part of the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA), we sought to provide more conclusive evidence regarding the role of the GABA(A) receptor genes on chromosome 5. Multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were tested in each of the four chromosome 5q GABA(A) receptor genes, and we conducted both classic trio-based association analyzes and extended pedigree analyzes. We found no consistent evidence of association with alcohol dependence or alcohol dependence comorbid with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) for any of the regions tested in the chromosome 5 GABA(A) receptor genes. These analyses suggest that the GABA(A) receptor genes on chromosome 5 do not play a strong role in alcohol dependence. Future studies are planned to test whether these genes are more important in influencing behavioral endophenotypes related to the risk of alcohol dependence.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.