Association between the serotonin transporter gene and alcohol consumption in social drinkers.
Munafò MR., Lingford-Hughes AR., Johnstone EC., Walton RT.
Relatively few studies have investigated the role of the 5HTT gene in intermediate phenotypes such as alcohol consumption in non-alcohol dependent populations. A recent study reported an association with alcohol consumption in a student population. We attempted to replicate these findings and extend on this work in a representative, ethnically homogenous, non-alcohol dependent sample of social drinkers in the United Kingdom. The short allele of the 5HTT gene was significantly associated with increased alcohol consumption (P = 0.03). There was suggestive evidence of a genotype-sex interaction (P = 0.04). Post-hoc tests indicated higher alcohol consumption in men with one or more copies of the short allele, while in women consumption was highest among heterozygotes compared to both homozygote groups. Age at time of data collection and cigarette consumption were entered as covariates. These results replicate recent previous findings and suggest a possibility that this association may differ in men and women.