Background: Alcoholism is commonly associated with chronic smoking. A number of gene expression profiles of regions within the human mesocorticolimbic system have identified potential alcohol-sensitive genes; however, the influence of smoking on these changes was not taken into account. This study addressed the impact of alcohol and smoking on the expression of 4 genes, previously identified as alcoholism-sensitive, in the human prefrontal cortex (PFC).
Methods: mRNA expression of apolipoprotein D, tissue inhibitor of the metalloproteinase 3, high-affinity glial glutamate transporter and midkine, was measured in the PFC of alcoholic subjects and controls with and without smoking comorbidity using real-time polymerase chain reaction.
Results: The results show that alcohol affects transcription of some of these genes. Additionally, smoking has a marked influence on gene expression.
Conclusion: This study emphasizes the need for careful case selection in future gene expression studies to delineate the adaptive molecular process associated with smoking and alcohol.