Lack of Allelic Association of Dopamine D1 and D2 (TaqIA) Receptor Gene Polymorphisms with Reduced Dopaminergic Sensitivity in Alcoholism


  • This study was supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Az: He 916/7–2 and He 2597/1–1) and the Kommission für Forschung und wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchs.

Reprints requests: Dr. Andreas Heinz, NIMH, SPECT Laboratory, St. Elizabeths, Washington, D.C. 20032.


Our study tested the hypothesis of whether the sensitivity of central dopamine receptors corresponds to the genotypic constitution of DNA-polymorphisms of the dopamine D1 and D2 receptor (DRD1, DRD2) genes and is associated with poor treatment outcome. Therefore, 97 alcohol-dependent patients were assessed according to their sensitivity of central dopamine receptors (apomorphine-induced secretion of growth hormone), clinical outcome during a 6-month observation period, and genotypic constitution of the TaqIA restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) at the DRD2 locus and of the Bsp12861 RFLP at the DRD1 locus. On the 1st day of detoxification, dopamine receptor hyposensitivity was found in treatment nonresponders, but not in responders. Apomorphine-induced growth hormone release did not differ significantly in alcoholics with different genotypes of the DRD1 and DRD2 RFLPs. Neither did we find a significant allelic association with treatment response. Thus, we did not find evidence for a genetic determination of dopamine receptor hyposensitivity in alcoholics with poor treatment outcome.