Genetics of methamphetamine use disorder: A systematic review and meta-analyses of gene association studies

Alexandre A. Guerin, Eric J. Nestler, Michael Berk, Andrew J. Lawrence, Susan L. Rossell, Jee Hyun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Genetic susceptibility to methamphetamine use disorder is poorly understood. No twin or adequately powered genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have been conducted. However, there are a large number of hypothesis-driven candidate gene association studies, which were systematically reviewed herein. Seventy-six studies were identified, investigating markers of 75 different genes. Allele frequencies, odds ratios, 95 % confidence intervals and power were calculated. Risk of bias was also assessed as a quality measure. Meta-analyses were conducted for gene markers if three or more studies were available. Eleven markers from adequately powered studies were significantly associated with methamphetamine use disorder, with Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH) and Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) representing promising targets. Limitations of these studies include unclear rationale for candidate gene selection, low power and high risk of bias. Future research should include replications to enable more meta-analyses, well-powered GWASs or whole exome or genome sequencing, as well as twin and family studies to further complement the findings of this review to uncover genetic contributions toward methamphetamine use disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-74
Number of pages27
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Abuse
  • Addiction
  • BDNF
  • Dependence
  • FAAH
  • Gene-association studies
  • Meta-analysis
  • Methamphetamine
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry
  • Single-nucleotide polymorphism


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