A functional polymorphism in the promoter region of the monoamine oxidase A gene is associated with the cigarette smoking quantity in alcohol-dependent heavy smokers

Neuropsychobiology. 2006;53(4):181-5. doi: 10.1159/000093782. Epub 2006 Jun 6.


Tobacco smoking represents a leading cause of morbidity and mortality with a strong dose-response relation between the amount of smoking and the risks of tobacco-related diseases and death. The quantity that is smoked is determined predominantly by genetic factors. The present study examined whether there is an association between the quantity of cigarettes smoked and length variation of a functional 30-bp repeat polymorphism in the promoter region of the monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) gene. The number of 30-bp repeats, which is associated with enzyme activity was assessed in 121 Caucasian men suffering from both alcohol and tobacco dependence. Analysis revealed that the highly active long allele (4 repeat) is associated with a significantly greater amount of cigarette smoking in comparison with the less active short allele (3 repeat). In a logistic regression model (dichotomized), smoking quantity was significantly predicted by MAO-A genotype while no other variable (age, height, body weight, frequency of smoking, quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption) met the significance level. Since tobacco smoke is a potent inhibitor of MAO-A, this result could be regarded as a genotype-related dosage effect. Taken together, in alcohol-dependent heavily smoking men there is evidence for a MAO-A gene-associated effect on the quantity that is smoked as reflected by the daily number of cigarettes consumed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / genetics*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monoamine Oxidase / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Smoking
  • Tandem Repeat Sequences
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / complications
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / genetics*
  • White People


  • Monoamine Oxidase