D4 dopamine-receptor (DRD4) alleles and novelty seeking in substance- dependent, personality-disorder, and control subjects

J. Gelernter, H. Kranzler, E. Coccaro, L. Siever, A. New, C. L. Mulgrew

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152 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two reports have been published suggesting an association between the personality trait of novelty seeking and the DRD4 * 7R allele at the D4 dopamine-receptor locus (with heterozygotes or homozygotes for DRD4 * 7R having higher novelty seeking). We studied novelty seeking and four coding- sequence polymorphisms affecting protein structure in the D4 dopamine- receptor gene (DRD4) in a sample of 341 American subjects, of whom 224 are of primarily European ancestry and 117 are of primarily African ancestry. These subjects had diagnoses of substance dependence or personality disorder (PD) or were screened to exclude major psychiatric diagnosis. We found that, although the substance-dependent subjects had significantly higher novelty seeking than the control and PD subjects, they did not differ in DRD4 * 7R allele frequency. There was no association between any DRD4 polymorphism and novelty seeking in any population or diagnostic group, except for a significant association between the DRD4 * 7R allele and lower novelty seeking among European American females and African American substance abusers. The novelty seeking of subjects heterozygous for a null mutation did not differ from that of subjects with two functional alleles. We conclude that the most likely explanation of these results is that the DRD4 VNTR does not influence directly the trait of novelty seeking, in these samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1144-1152
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
Volume61
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1997
Externally publishedYes

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