Document Type



Medicine and Health Sciences


Background Previous studies have demonstrated, and replicated, an association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the GABRA2 gene and risk for alcohol dependence. The present study examines the association of a GABRA2 SNP with another definition of alcohol involvement and with the effects of psychosocial treatment. Methods European-American subjects (n=812, 73.4% male) provided DNA samples for the analysis. All were participants in Project MATCH, a multi-center randomized clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of three types of psychosocial treatment for alcoholism: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET), or Twelve Step Facilitation (TSF). The daily probabilities of drinking and heavy drinking were estimated during the 12-week treatment and 12-month post-treatment periods. Results Subjects homozygous for the allele associated with low risk for alcohol dependence in previous studies had lower daily probabilities of drinking and heavy drinking in the present study. This low-risk allele was also associated with a greater difference in drinking outcomes between the treatments. In addition, it enhanced the relative superiority of TSF over CBT and MET. Population stratification was excluded as a confound using ancestry informative marker analysis. Conclusions

The assessment of genetic vulnerability may be relevant to studies of the efficacy of psychosocial treatment: GABRA2 genotype modifies the variance in drinking and can therefore moderate power for resolving differences between treatments


Alcohol Clin Exp Res. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2011 September 8. Published in final edited form as: Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2007 November; 31(11): 1780–1787. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2007.00517.x PMCID: PMC3169387 NIHMSID: NIHMS317255