Subjective and Physiological Responses to Alcohol in Healthy Social Drinkers: Moderating effect of variation in GABRA2
Alcohol abuse and dependence are important public health problems. Inherited (i.e., genetic) risk factors are thought to be important in the development of alcohol use disorders. Recent family-based and case-control studies of genetic factors in alcohol dependence indicate that variation in the GABA-A subunit gene, GABRA2, is associated with alcohol dependence. Our preliminary results from alcohol challenge studies in humans suggest that variation in GABRA2 also influences the subjective effects of alcohol, suggesting a potential mechanism by which the gene may influence risk of alcohol dependence. Based on these preliminary data, the aims of this study are to: 1) examine the effect of alcohol on multiple domains of the response to acute alcohol administration in social drinkers and to 2) examine the moderating effect of GABRA2 genotype on these subjective measures in response to acute alcohol administration. The identification of specific genetic determinants for variation in the quality or magnitude of responses to alcohol may help in our understanding of why some individuals are vulnerable to, or protected from, alcohol dependence.
Subjects will participate in 3 laboratory sessions in a within-subjects design in which no alcohol, a low dose, and a high dose of alcohol will be administered to them on three separate occasions and in a random order. The identification of specific genetic determinants of variation in the quality or magnitude of responses to alcohol may help to understand why some individuals are vulnerable to, or protected from, alcohol dependence.
Jessica Cohen, MC2103
University of Connecticut Health Center
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030-2103
Jonathan M. Covault, M.D., Ph.D.