Genetic susceptibility to heroin addiction: A candidate gene association study

O. Levran, D. Londono, K. O'Hara, D. A. Nielsen, E. Peles, J. Rotrosen, P. Casadonte, S. Linzy, M. Randesi, J. Ott, M. Adelson, M. J. Kreek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Heroin addiction is a chronic complex disease with a substantial genetic contribution. This study was designed to identify genetic variants that are associated with susceptibility to develop heroin addiction by analyzing 1350 variants in 130 candidate genes. All subjects had Caucasian ancestry. The sample consisted of 412 former severe heroin addicts in methadone treatment, and 184 healthy controls with no history of drug abuse. Nine variants, in six genes, showed the lowest nominal P values in the association tests (P < 0.01). These variants were in noncoding regions of the genes encoding the mu (OPRM1; rs510769 and rs3778151), kappa (OPRK1; rs6473797) and delta (OPRD1; rs2236861, rs2236857 and rs3766951) opioid receptors; the neuropeptide galanin (GAL; rs694066); the serotonin receptor subtype 3B (HTR3B; rs3758987) and the casein kinase 1 isoform epsilon (CSNK1E; rs1534891). Several haplotypes and multilocus genotype patterns showed nominally significant associations (e.g. OPRM1; P = 0.0006 and CSNK1E; P = 0.0007). Analysis of a combined effect of OPRM1 and OPRD1 showed that rs510769 and rs2236861 increase the risk of heroin addiction (P = 0.0005). None of these associations remained significant after adjustment for multiple testing. This study suggests the involvement of several genes and variants in heroin addiction, which is worthy of future study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720-729
Number of pages10
JournalGenes, Brain and Behavior
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Association study
  • Candidate gene
  • Heroin addiction


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