Recent genome-wide analysis has indicated that the autism susceptibility candidate 2 (AUTS2) gene is involved in the regulation of alcohol consumption. We hypothesised that AUTS2 might be associated with the development of alcohol dependence. Therefore, in this exploratory study, we compared the genotype and allele frequencies of the polymorphisms rs6943555 and rs9886351 in the AUTS2 gene between patients with alcohol dependence and healthy control subjects living in a Japanese provincial prefecture. We also examined whether or not the haplotypes consisting of these polymorphisms are related to alcohol dependence.
The subjects of this study consisted of 64 patients with alcohol dependence and 75 unrelated healthy people. The AUTS2 genotypes were determined by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) method.
No significant differences in the genotype and allele frequencies of the polymorphisms AUTS2 rs6943555 and rs9886351 were found between alcohol dependence and control subjects. On the other hand, the frequencies of the AUTS2 haplotypes were significantly different between them, and the rs6943555 and rs9886351 A-A haplotype was associated with alcohol dependence (p=0.0187).
This suggests that the rs6943555 and rs9886351 A-A haplotype might affect the vulnerability to alcohol dependence pathogenesis. Further studies are needed to confirm the reproducibility of the results of this study with increased numbers of subjects.
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