Background: Several studies have suggested that the serotonin receptor 1B gene (5HT1B) may be important in the pathogenesis of alcohol dependence (alcoholism; ALC; AD). We examined whether 5HT1B gene A-161T polymorphisms (rs130058) are a susceptibility factor for total AD and subgroups of AD. We further explored correlation of this 5HT1B gene variant between anxiety–depression alcoholism (ANX/DEP ALC) and antisocial alcoholism (antisocial ALC) subgroups because of the high comorbidity of anxiety–depression, antisocial personality disorder, and AD.
Methods: We recruited 522 Han Chinese in Taiwan for this study: 322 AD patients and 200 controls. The patient group was recruited primarily from medical teaching hospitals; patients with antisocial alcoholism were recruited from Taiwanese prisons. Individuals with AD were classified into 3 homogeneous clinical subgroups—pure alcoholism (pure ALC), ANX/DEP ALC, and antisocial ALC—using DSM-IV diagnosis. The 5HT1B gene A-161T polymorphism was determined using PCR–RFLP.
Results: No significant differences in genotypic and allelic frequencies were found between controls and the total AD group or between controls and the 3 AD subgroups. However, there were significant differences in the 5HT1B gene A-161T polymorphism at both the genotype and allelic levels between the ANX/DEP ALC and antisocial ALC subgroups.
Conclusions: This study suggests that the 5HT1B gene A-161T polymorphism alone is not a risk factor for increasing susceptibility to either AD or its subtypes. However, 5HT1B gene A-161T polymorphisms might be one of the common genetic factors between the ANX/DEP ALC and antisocial ALC subgroups.