The D2 dopamine receptor (DRD2) gene is associated with co-morbid depression, anxiety and social dysfunction in untreated veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder

Eur Psychiatry. 2006 Apr;21(3):180-5. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2005.01.006.


Objective: To identify clusters of patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) according to symptom profile and to examine the association of the A1 allele of the D2 dopamine receptor (DRD2) gene with these clusters.

Method: Fifty-seven untreated Caucasian Vietnam veterans with PTSD were administered the General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ) and the Mississippi Scale for combat-related PTSD. DRD2 allelic status was determined by PCR.

Results: Subjects with the DRD2 Al allele compared to those without this allele had significantly higher scores on GHQ 2 (anxiety/insomnia), GHQ 3 (social dysfunction) and GHQ 4 (depression). Cluster analysis of the GHQ data identified two primary groups. A high psychopathology cluster (cluster 3), featured by high co-morbid levels of somatic concerns, anxiety/insomnia, social dysfunction and depression, and a low psychopathology cluster (cluster 1), manifested by the reverse pattern. Scores in each of the four GHQ groups were significantly higher in cluster 3 than cluster 1, as was Mississippi Scale PTSD score. DRD2 A1 allele veterans compared to those without this allele were significantly more likely to be found in the high than the low psychopathology cluster group.

Conclusions: DRD2 variants are associated with severe co-morbid psychopathology in PTSD subjects.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / genetics*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / genetics*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / genetics*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Behavior Disorders / epidemiology
  • Social Behavior Disorders / genetics*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / genetics*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Veterans / psychology*


  • Receptors, Dopamine D2