Neurotransmission-related genetic polymorphisms, negative affectivity traits, and gender predict tobacco abstinence symptoms across 44 days with and without nicotine patch

J Abnorm Psychol. 2009 May;118(2):322-34. doi: 10.1037/a0015382.


Genetic and personality trait moderators of tobacco abstinence-symptom trajectories were assessed in a highly controlled study. Based on evidence suggesting their importance in stress reactivity and smoking, moderators studied were serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) and dopamine D2 receptor gene (DRD2) polymorphisms and personality traits related to negative affect (NA). Smokers were randomly assigned to quit smoking with nicotine or placebo patches. Financial incentives resulted in 80% verified abstinence across the 44-day study. Individuals with 1 or 2 short alleles of 5-HTTLPR (S carriers) experienced larger increases in NA symptoms than did those without a short allele. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) alleviated anxiety only in S carriers. NRT reduced NA to a greater extent in DRD2 A1 carriers than in A2A2 individuals during the 1st 2 weeks of treatment (when on the 21-mg patch); however, A1 carriers experienced a renewal of NA symptoms when switched to the 7-mg patch and when off the patch, while A2A2 individuals continued to benefit from NRT. The results suggest that the effects of genotype and treatment may vary across different durations of abstinence, treatment doses, and genotypes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects
  • Alleles
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Nicotine / therapeutic use*
  • Nicotinic Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / genetics*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / drug therapy
  • Smoking / genetics*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Synaptic Transmission / genetics
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Nicotine