September 30, 2015
Authors: Kimbrel NA, Garrett ME, Dennis MF, Liu Y, Patanam I, Workgroup VM, Ashley-Koch AE, Hauser MA, Beckham JC.
Abstract: The present study examined the association between genetic variation in the nicotinic receptor gene family (CHRNA2, CHRNA3, CHRNA4, CHRNA5, CHRNA6, CHRNA7, CHRNA9, CHRNA10, CHRNB2, CHRNB3, CHRNB4) and the occurrence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Clinical interviews were used to diagnose PTSD in 925 non-Hispanic Black (NHB) and 743 non-Hispanic White (NHW) participants. Trauma history and smoking status were assessed with self-report. No significant main effects or single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) * smoking interactions were observed among NHB participants; however, among NHW participants, a novel association between rs12898919 in the cholinergic receptor nicotinic alpha-5 (CHRNA5) gene and PTSD was observed. No other significant main effects or SNP * smoking interactions were identified among NHW participants. While preliminary, these findings provide continued support for the hypothesis that the CHRNA5 gene is associated with increased risk for PTSD. Limitations of the present study include cross-sectional design, relatively small sample sizes for genetic research, use of self-report to assess smoking status, and use of different methods to diagnose PTSD. Additional research in other samples of trauma-exposed participants is needed to identify the specific functional variant(s) responsible for the association observed between CHRNA5 and PTSD risk in the present study.
Kimbrel NA, et al. Psychiatry Res. 2015;229(1-2):326-331.