Association analysis of sequence variants of the GABA(A) α6, β2, and γ2 gene cluster and alcohol dependence

Thomas Sander, David Ball, Robin Murray, Jaimin Patel, Jerzy Samochowiec, Georg Winterer, Hans Rommelspacher, Lutz G. Schmidt, El Wui Loh

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79 Citations (Scopus)


Quantitative trait analyses in mice suggest a vulnerability locus for physiological alcohol withdrawal severity on a chromosomal segment that harbors the genes encoding the α1, α6, β2, and γ2 subunits of the γ- aminobutyric acid type-A receptor (GABR). We tested whether genetic variation at the human GABA(A) α6, β2, and γ2 gene cluster on chromosome 5q33 confers vulnerability to alcohol dependence. The genotypes of three nucleotide substitution polymorphisms of the GABRA6, GABRB2, and GABRG2 genes were assessed in 349 German alcohol-dependent subjects and in 182 ethnically matched controls. To eliminate some of the genetic variance, three more homogeneous subgroups of alcoholics were formed by: (1) a history of alcohol withdrawal seizure or delirium (n = 106); (2) a history of parental alcoholism (n = 120); and (3) a comorbidity of dissocial personality disorder (n = 57). We found no evidence that any of the investigated allelic variants confers vulnerability to either alcohol dependence or severe physiological alcohol withdrawal symptoms or familial alcoholism (p > 0.05). The frequency of the T allele of the GABRA6 polymorphism was significantly increased in dissocial alcoholics [f(T) = 0.799] compared with the controls [f(T) = 0.658; p = 0.002; OR(T+) = 7.26]. Taking into account the high a priori risk of false-positive association findings due to multiple testing, further replication studies are necessary to examine the tentative phenotype-genotype relationship of GABRA6 gene variants and dissocial alcoholism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-431
Number of pages5
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol Dependence
  • Association
  • Dissocial Personality Disorder
  • GABA(A) Receptor Genes
  • Genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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