Brain-derived neurotrophic factor Val66Met polymorphism and alcohol-related phenotypes.Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2013; 40:193-8PN
Alcoholism is a chronic psychiatric disorder affecting neural pathways that regulate motivation, stress, reward and arousal. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) regulates mood, response to stress and interacts with neurotransmitters and stress systems involved in reward pathways and addiction. Aim of the study was to evaluate the association between a single nucleotide polymorphism (BDNF Val66Met or rs6265) and alcohol related phenotypes in Caucasian patients. In ethnically homogenous Caucasian subjects of the Croatian origin, the BDNF Val66Met genotype distribution was determined in 549 male and 126 female patients with alcohol dependence and in 655 male and 259 female healthy non-alcoholic control subjects. Based on the structured clinical interview, additional detailed clinical interview, the Brown-Goodwin Scale, the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression and the Clinical Global Impression scores, alcoholic patients were subdivided into those with or without comorbid depression, aggression, delirium tremens, withdrawal syndrome, early/late onset of alcohol abuse, prior suicidal attempt during lifetime, current suicidal behavior, and severity of alcohol dependence. The results showed no significant association between BDNF Val66Met variants and alcohol dependence and/or any of the alcohol related phenotypes in either Caucasian women, or men, with alcohol dependence. There are few limitations of the study. The overall study sample size was large (N=1589) but not well-powered to detect differences in BDNF Val66Met genotype distribution between studied groups. Healthy control women were older than female alcoholic patients. Only one BDNF polymorphism (rs6265) was studied. In conclusion, these data do not support the view that BDNF Val66Met polymorphism correlates with the specific alcohol related phenotypes in ethnically homogenous medication-free Caucasian subjects with alcohol dependence.