Genomewide Gene-by-Sex Interaction Scans Identify ADGRV1 for Sex Differences in Opioid Dependent African Americans

Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 2;9(1):18070. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-53560-0.


Sex differences in opioid dependence (OD) are genetically influenced. We conducted genomewide gene-by-sex interaction scans for the DSM-IV diagnosis of OD in 8,387 African-American (AA) or European-American subjects (43.6% women; 4,715 OD subjects). Among AAs, 9 SNPs were genome-wide significant at ADGRV1 (adhesion G-protein-coupled receptor V1, lead-SNP rs2366929*(C/T), p = 1.5 × 10-9) for sex-different risk of OD, with the rs2366929*C-allele increasing OD risk only for men. The top co-expressions in brain were between ADGRV1 and GRIK2 in substantia nigra and medullary inferior olivary nucleus, and between ADGRV1 and EFHC2 in frontal cortex and putamen. Significant sex-differential ADGRV1 expression from GTEx was detected in breast (Bonferroni-corrected-p < 0.002) and in heart (p < 0.0125), with nominal significance identified in brain, thyroid, lung, and stomach (p < 0.05). ADGRV1 co-expression and disease-enrichment analysis identifying the top 10 diseases showed strikingly sexually dimorphic risks. The enrichment and transcriptome analyses provided convergent support that ADGRV1 exerts a sex-different effect on OD risk. This is the first study to identify genetic variants contributing to sex differences in OD. It shows that ADGRV1 contributes to OD risk only in AA men, a finding that warrants further study.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alleles
  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects*
  • Black or African American / genetics*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / genetics*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / pathology
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid / metabolism
  • Sex Factors
  • White People / genetics


  • ADGRV1 protein, human
  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • EFHC2 protein, human
  • Gluk2 kainate receptor
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid