Variants in nicotinic acetylcholine receptors alpha5 and alpha3 increase risks to nicotine dependence. Academic Article uri icon


  • Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors bind to nicotine and initiate the physiological and pharmacological responses to tobacco smoking. In this report, we studied the association of alpha5 and alpha3 subunits with nicotine dependence and with the symptoms of alcohol and cannabis abuse and dependence in two independent epidemiological samples (n = 815 and 1,121, respectively). In this study, seven single nucleotide polymorphisms were genotyped in the CHRNA5 and CHRNA3 genes. In both samples, we found that the same alleles of rs16969968 (P = 0.0068 and 0.0028) and rs1051730 (P = 0.0237 and 0.0039) were significantly associated with the scores of Fagerstrm test for nicotine dependence (FTND). In the analyses of the symptoms of abuse/dependence of alcohol and cannabis, we found that rs16969968 and rs1051730 were significantly associated with the symptoms of alcohol abuse or dependence (P = 0.0072 and 0.0057) in the combined sample, but the associated alleles were the opposite of that of FTND. No association with cannabis abuse/dependence was found. These results suggested that the alpha5 and alpha3 subunits play a significant role in both nicotine dependence and alcohol abuse/dependence. However, the opposite effects with nicotine dependence and alcohol abuse/dependence were puzzling and future studies are necessary to resolve this issue.

published proceedings

  • Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Chen, X., Chen, J., Williamson, V. S., An, S., Hettema, J. M., Aggen, S. H., Neale, M. C., & Kendler, K. S.

citation count

  • 90

complete list of authors

  • Chen, Xiangning||Chen, Jingchun||Williamson, Vernell S||An, Seon-Sook||Hettema, John M||Aggen, Steven H||Neale, Michael C||Kendler, Kenneth S

publication date

  • October 2009