New Alcohol-Related Genes Suggest Shared Genetic Mechanisms with Neuropsychiatric Disorders
Excessive alcohol consumption is one of the main causes of death and disability worldwide. Alcohol consumption is a heritable complex trait.
Here the researchers conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of alcohol consumption (g d−1) from the UK Biobank, the Alcohol Genome-Wide Consortium and the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Plus consortia, collecting data from 480,842 people of European descent to decipher the genetic architecture of alcohol intake.
The study identified 46 new common loci and investigated their potential functional importance using magnetic resonance imaging data and gene expression studies.
The study identifies genetic pathways associated with alcohol consumption and suggest genetic mechanisms that are shared with neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia.
According to MedicalXpress, The researchers found these genetic factors could account for 7% of the variation in people’s total alcohol intake. Those with the lowest alcohol-related genetic risk consumed about one third less of a standard alcohol unit per day (2.6g of alcohol) compared with those with the highest.
Although we already knew there was an association between schizophrenia and alcohol [use], this research suggests there may be some joint genetic mechanism that leads a person to [use alcohol] more, as well as increase their risk of schizophrenia,” said Professor Paul Elliott, lead author of the study from Imperial’s School of Public Health, as per MedicalXpress.
Excessive alcohol consumption is a major public health problem, and associated with around one in 20 deaths worldwide. If we understood more about the biology of why we [consume] alcohol, we may be able to understand more on how to effectively deal with alcohol issues,” added professor Elliott.