Genome-wide association study of stimulant dependence

Transl Psychiatry. 2021 Jun 29;11(1):363. doi: 10.1038/s41398-021-01440-5.


Stimulant dependence is heritable, but specific genetic factors underlying the trait have not been identified. A genome-wide association study for stimulant dependence was performed in a discovery cohort of African- (AA) and European-ancestry (EA) subjects ascertained for genetic studies of alcohol, opioid, and cocaine use disorders. The sample comprised individuals with DSM-IV stimulant dependence (393 EA cases, 5288 EA controls; 155 AA cases, 5603 AA controls). An independent cohort from the family-based Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (532 EA cases, 7635 EA controls; 53 AA cases, AA 3352 controls) was used for replication. One variant in SLC25A16 (rs2394476, p = 3.42 × 10-10, odds ratio [OR] = 3.70) was GWS in AAs. Four other loci showed suggestive evidence, including KCNA4 in AAs (rs11500237, p = 2.99 × 10-7, OR = 2.31) which encodes one of the potassium voltage-gated channel protein that has been linked to several other substance use disorders, and CPVL in the combined population groups (rs1176440, p = 3.05 × 10-7, OR = 1.35), whose expression was previously shown to be upregulated in the prefrontal cortex from users of cocaine, cannabis, and phencyclidine. Analysis of the top GWAS signals revealed a significant enrichment with nicotinic acetylcholine receptor genes (adjusted p = 0.04) and significant pleiotropy between stimulant dependence and alcohol dependence in EAs (padj = 3.6 × 10-3), an anxiety disorder in EAs (padj = 2.1 × 10-4), and ADHD in both AAs (padj = 3.0 × 10-33) and EAs (padj = 6.7 × 10-35). Our results implicate novel genes and pathways as having roles in the etiology of stimulant dependence.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Autoantigens
  • Black or African American
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genome-Wide Association Study*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Substance-Related Disorders* / genetics
  • White People


  • Autoantigens
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • SLC25A16 protein, human