Dopamine D4 receptor gene and severity of dependence

Joanne Lusher, Lorna Ebersole, David Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Family, twin and adoption studies demonstrate that substance dependence is determined partially by genes. Recent studies in opiate-dependent subjects have found a significant excess of the long-long (LL) allele of the 48bp repeat in the coding sequence of the DRD4 gene. This study examined this association further in a sample of 60 opiate dependent, 51 alcohol-dependent and 64 normal, healthy control subjects. No significant association between the polymorphism at DRD4 and opiate or alcohol abuse was found. However, results yielded a significant main effect on severity of dependence, demonstrating that individuals with the LL allele rated their severity of dependence significantly higher than those who had the short-short (SS) allele :[F(2, 101) = 5.0, p < 0.01]. This study suggests that the DRD4 gene does not directly influence vulnerability to substance dependence, but that possession of the LL genotype significantly increases severity of dependence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-472
Number of pages4
JournalAddiction Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2000
Externally publishedYes


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