Association of the PLCB1 gene with drug dependence

Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 31;7(1):10110. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-10207-2.


Genetic factors involved in the susceptibility to drug addiction still remain largely unknown. MiRNAs seem to play key roles in the drug-induced plasticity of the brain that likely drives the emergence of addiction. In this work we explored the role of miRNAs in drug addiction. With this aim, we selected 62 SNPs located in the 3'UTR of target genes that are predicted to alter the binding of miRNA molecules and performed a case-control association study in a Spanish sample of 735 cases (mainly cocaine-dependent subjects with multiple drug dependencies) and 739 controls. We found an association between rs1047383 in the PLCB1 gene and drug dependence that was replicated in an independent sample (663 cases and 667 controls). Then we selected 9 miRNAs predicted to bind the rs1047383 region, but none of them showed any effect on PLCB1 expression. We also assessed two miRNAs binding a region that contains a SNP in linkage disequilibrium with rs1047383, but although one of them, hsa-miR-582, was found to downregulate PLCB1, no differences were observed between alleles. Finally, we explored the possibility that PLCB1 expression is altered by cocaine and we observed a significant upregulation of the gene in the nucleus accumbens of cocaine abusers and in human dopaminergic-like neurons after cocaine treatment. Our results, together with previous studies, suggest that PLCB1 participates in the susceptibility to drug dependence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Adult
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism
  • Phospholipase C beta / genetics*
  • Phospholipase C beta / metabolism
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Up-Regulation


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • MicroRNAs
  • PLCB1 protein, human
  • Phospholipase C beta