The dopamine system plays a well-established role in alcoholism. In this study, we examined the association between the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1076560 of the dopamine receptor D2 (DRD2) gene and susceptibility to alcoholism. SNP rs1076560 (C/A) is located in intron 6 of DRD2, where it is 1.4 kb downstream from alternative exon 6 and 83 bp upstream from exon 7. A total of 248 alcoholic patients and 322 healthy controls, all Japanese males, were genotyped for rs1076560 polymorphism by direct sequencing and allele-specific PCR. Data were analyzed using standard chi(2) statistics and a backwards logistic regression approach to adjust for the contribution of aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2) genotype status. The DRD2 risk allele A was more prevalent in the alcoholic patients (40.1%) than in the healthy controls (34.0%) (P=0.034, odds ratio=1.300, 95% confidence interval=1.020-1.657). These data identify SNP rs1076560 as a potentially important variable in the development of alcoholism.