Aims: As recent conflicting reports describe a genetic association between both the C- and the T-alleles of the dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) C957T polymorphism (rs6277) in alcohol-dependent subjects, our aim was to examine this polymorphism and TaqIA (rs1800497) in Australian alcohol-dependent subjects.
Methods: The C957T polymorphism was genotyped in 228 patients with alcohol dependence (72 females and 156 males) and 228 healthy controls.
Results: The C-allele and C/C genotype of C957T was associated with alcohol dependence, whereas the TaqIA polymorphism was not. When analysed separately for C957T, males showed an even stronger association with the C-allele and females showed no association. The C957T and TaqIA haplotyping revealed a strong association with alcohol dependence and a double-genotype analysis (combining C957T and TaqIA genotypes) revealed that the relative risk of different genotypes varied by up to 27-fold with the TT/A1A2 having an 8.5-fold lower risk of alcohol dependence than other genotypes.
Conclusion: Decreased DRD2 binding associated with the C-allele of the DRD2 C957T polymorphism is likely to be important in the underlying pathophysiology of at least some forms of alcohol dependence, and this effect appears to be limited to males only.