Common variants in HLA-DRA gene are associated with alcohol dependence in two Caucasian samples

J Mol Neurosci. 2013 Mar;49(3):574-81. doi: 10.1007/s12031-012-9869-3. Epub 2012 Aug 14.


HLA-DRA gene polymorphisms might play an important role in alcohol dependence (AD). We examined genetic associations of 29 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the HLA-DRA gene with AD using two Caucasian samples-the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) sample (660 AD cases and 400 controls) and the Study of Addiction: Genetics and Environment (SAGE) sample (623 cases and 1,016 controls). Logistic regression analysis using PLINK showed that 16 SNPs were associated with AD in the COGA sample and 13 SNPs were associated with AD in the SAGE sample (p < 0.05). The best novel signal was SNP rs2239803 associated with AD in both samples (p = 0.000817 for the COGA sample and p = 0.0026 for the SAGE sample, respectively) while one flanking SNP rs4935356 also showed strong association in both samples (p = 0.00219 and 0.0026 for the COGA and SAGE samples, respectively). Furthermore, these two SNPs revealed stronger associations in meta-analysis of these two samples (p = 8.97 × 10(-6) and 2.02 × 10(-5) for rs2239803 and rs4935356, respectively). In addition, the G-A haplotype from these two SNPs revealed a significant association with AD in both the COGA and SAGE samples (p = 0.0007 and 0.0019, respectively). These findings highlight the novel associations with HLA-DRA that may play an important role in the etiology of AD.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcoholism / genetics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Genotype
  • HLA-DR alpha-Chains / genetics*
  • Haplotypes / genetics
  • Humans
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Whites / genetics*
  • Young Adult


  • HLA-DR alpha-Chains