SUMMARY: Discovery of 5 genomic regions associated with nicotine dependence.
OVERVIEW: Nicotine is a chemical commonly found in tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes (vapes). Many smokers become dependent on nicotine. Signs of dependence include mood swings, anxiety, and restlessness following attempts to quit. Nicotine dependence is a highly heritable trait, but very few associated genomic regions have been discovered to date. This study examined over 58,000 smokers of European and African ancestry and identified 5 regions of the genome linked to nicotine dependence. Two of these regions are newly discovered. One of them harbors a gene known as TENM2, which plays a role in the formation of connections between nerve cells in the brain. The study also found genetic correlations between nicotine dependence and alcohol dependence, as well as psychological conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression.
DID YOU KNOW? Nicotine causes the release of dopamine in the brain, which is responsible for the “feel-good” emotions. However, over time the release of dopamine in the brain becomes dependent on nicotine consumption. This creates a link between smoking and depression. For example, a study in the United Kingdom found that adults with depression are twice as likely to be smokers than adults who don’t suffer from depression. [SOURCE]
SAMPLE RESULTS: Learn more about the Nebula Research Library.
ADDICTION-ASSOCIATED VARIANTS: rs16969968, rs151176846, rs13284520, rs1862416, rs2714700
WEEKLY UPDATE: November 12, 2020