Contribution of genetic polymorphisms and haplotypes in DRD2, BDNF, and opioid receptors to heroin dependence and endophenotypes among the Han Chinese

Author Identifier

Wei Wang Orcid: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1430-1360

Document Type

Journal Article


Mary Ann Liebert Inc.


School of Medical and Health Sciences




National Health and Medical Research Council

Grant Number

NHMRC Number : 1112767


Heroin and drug dependence are major contributors to global health burden worldwide, but their underlying mechanisms remain elusive and may vary from population to population. Reward- and memory-related candidate genes dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), as well as the opioid receptor genes (OPRM1, OPRD1, and OPRK1), have been implicated in drug dependence, but relatively little is known on their contributions to heroin dependence in populations worldwide. Hence, we evaluated the contributions of the above five candidate genes in heroin dependence and several important related endophenotypes (the onset age of heroin use and subjective response to first heroin use), at single single-nucleotide polymorphism as well as haplotype levels, in a Han Chinese population sample. We genotyped 546 unrelated and heroin-dependent subjects for the candidate genes noted, and 228 sex- and age-matched unrelated controls. The G allele of rs4654327 (OPRD1), DRD2 haplotype block CCGCCGTT (rs6277-rs1076560-rs2283265-rs2734833-rs2075652-rs1079596-rs4436578-rs11214607), and OPRD1 haplotypes TACG (rs6669447-rs2236857-rs508448-rs4654327), CG (rs508448-rs4654327), and TG (rs6669447-rs4654327) were significantly associated with heroin dependence phenotype. Homozygotes AA at rs6265 (BDNF), TT at rs16917234 (BDNF), and CC at rs508448 (OPRD1) also appeared as risk factors for the endophenotype earlier age of onset for heroin use. Two OPRM1 haplotypes, AG (rs1799971-rs1381376) and AT (rs1799971-rs3778151), were observed as potential protective factors. These emerging findings contribute to the literature on genetic biomarkers of drug dependence and related endophenotypes, and call for replication in independent population.



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