Significant, replicable, and functional associations between KTN1 variants and alcohol and drug codependence

Addict Biol. 2021 Mar;26(2):e12888. doi: 10.1111/adb.12888. Epub 2020 Mar 1.


The gray matter volume (GMV) of the putamen has been reported to be regulated by kinectin 1 gene (KTN1). As a hub of the dopaminergic circuit, the putamen is widely implicated in the etiological processes of substance use disorders (SUD). Here, we aimed to identify robust and reliable associations between KTN1 SNPs and SUD across multiple samples. We examined the associations between SUD and KTN1 SNPs in four independent population-based or family-based samples (n = 10,209). The potential regulatory effects of the risk alleles on the putamen GMVs, the effects of alcohol, nicotine, marijuana and cocaine on KTN1 mRNA expression, and the relationship between KTN1 mRNA expression and SUD were explored. We found that a total of 23 SNPs were associated with SUD across at least two independent samples (1.4 × 10-4 ≤ p ≤ 0.049), including one SNP (rs12895072) across three samples (8.8 × 10-3 ≤ p ≤ 0.049). Four other SNPs were significantly or suggestively associated with SUD only in European-Australians (4.8 × 10-4 ≤ p ≤ 0.058). All of the SUD-risk alleles of these 27 SNPs increased (β > 0) the putamen GMVs and represented major alleles (f > 0.5) in Europeans. Twenty-two SNPs were potentially biologically functional. Alcohol, nicotine and cocaine significantly affected the KTN1 mRNA expression, and the KTN1 mRNA was differentially expressed between nicotine or cocaine dependent and control subjects. We concluded that there was a replicable and robust relationship among the KTN1 variants, KTN1 mRNA expression, putamen GMVs, molecular effects of substances, and SUD, suggesting that some risk KTN1 alleles might increase kinectin 1 expression in the putamen, altering putamen structures and functions, and leading to SUD.

Keywords: KTN1; alcohol; cocaine; gray matter volume (GMV); mRNA expression; marijuana; nicotine; putamen; substance use disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / genetics
  • Alleles
  • Australia
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Gray Matter / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / epidemiology
  • Marijuana Abuse / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Putamen / pathology*
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / genetics*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / epidemiology
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / genetics
  • White People


  • KTN1 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger