Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)
PUBLICATIONS of the IMAGEN CONSORTIUM
Author: Schumann, G. et al.
Journal: Addiction, Volume 101, Issue 11, pages 1538–1539, November 2006
Abstract: The pivotal role of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis functioning for initiation and maintenance of drug-taking behaviour is increasingly emerging. In recent years addiction research on the HPA axis function has focused particularly on adaptive stress response mechanisms and their alterations following substance use. [more]
In this issue of Addiction, Huizink et al. focus on cortisol levels as a risk factor for early initiation of cannabis use. In a large cohort sample of 1441 children they obtained cortisol samples at age 11.1 years and assessed exposure to cannabis at 13.6 years. They provide evidence for higher evening cortisol levels in all cannabis users and lower levels of morning cortisol in early (9–12 years; n = 44) versus later (13–14 years: n = 59) onset of cannabis use. Low morning cortisol levels reflect a largely genetic regulation of HPA axis activity and evening cortisol values reflect mainly environmental influences .
This is the first study linking low morning cortisol levels to early initiation of cannabis use. Because at this age group substance-induced neuroendocrinological alterations are an unlikely cause for the findings observed, the results of Huizink et al. suggest a causal relationship of low cortisol levels as a risk factor for early onset cannabis use. In this regard their study is very relevant, as it provides conceptual biological links with psychological research indicating an increased risk of substance use disorders in certain externalizing personality types, such as high sensation-seeking individuals. Thus, a hypoarousal of morning cortisol may be evidence of an increased threshold for stress resulting in sensation-seeking behaviour, including substance use, possibly to increase the arousal effects for physiological comfort .
The question evolving in this context is whether low morning cortisol levels are associated with externalizing behavioural phenotypes. In the cohort investigated by Huizink et al. relevant aspects of externalizing behaviours, namely oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder, have been found to be more pronounced in cannabis users compared to non-users. However, no analysis of a possible interaction of behavioural, neuroendocrinological and substance use measures has been provided by the authors. Further studies of well-characterized samples may wish to address this question and contribute to exciting research on the biological basis of personality traits and their relation to substance use disorders.
Like most interesting research, the work of Huizink et al. raises more questions than a single study can address and points towards the strategies necessary to answer them. The role of genetics and heritability is one such question, which may aid in recognizing the bigger biological picture linking behaviour, neuroendocrinology and substance use phenotypes. In non-alcohol-dependent sons of alcoholic fathers, Zimmermann et al.  found an increased response to psychosocial stress and stronger dampening effects of alcohol, compared to family history-negative subjects. These findings are in keeping with a second set of results of Huizink's report, which measured the adaptive response of the HPA axis to environmental stimuli, and found increased levels of evening cortisol in cannabis users versus controls. These (and other) studies provide biological evidence for a further aspect of HPA axis regulation relevant for substance use, namely an increased responsiveness to environmental stimuli, which may underlie the well-known clinical phenomenon in some individuals of drug taking as an attempt to cope with stress.
However, most findings published so far attribute these features to two distinct groups of individuals, suggesting different mechanisms leading to addictive behaviour. Low basal activity and decreased responsiveness is associated with individuals with aggressive and antisocial personality traits , of which oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder are precursors. Increased responsiveness with normal basal activity is associated with individuals with negative emotionality and high anxiety levels . In the present study, the authors report the somewhat surprising combination of both low morning cortisol and high evening cortisol in early-onset use of cannabis which—if replicated—may raise the question of a common molecular mechanism for both features.
While the molecular mechanism possibly integrating these features may be unclear, the tools for analysis are not. Molecular genetic dissection of HPA axis components both in animal models  and humans  have identified the corticotrophin-releasing hormone receptor 1 (CRHR1) as crucial in integrating stress response and substance use (e.g. alcohol drinking) behaviour. Further functional analyses of HPA axis genes will help to identify molecular mechanisms of HPA axis regulation and define their role for substance use disorders.
However, the neuroendocrine profile in early-onset cannabis users described by the authors also raises questions pointing towards an altogether different molecular mechanism of HPA axis regulation. Both bluntedincrease in morning cortisol and blunted decrease in evening cortisol result in flattening of the circadian rhythm of HPA axis activity. Circadian rhythmicity is regulated by a master clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus consisting of Clock genes, which have been linked recently to substance use behaviour in humans and mouse models. They include period 1 , period 2  and Clock.
Neuroanatomical studies in rats have identified both direct and indirect pathways by which the suprachiasmatic nucleus controls the circadian rhythm of cortisol release. These include projections from the suprachiasmatic nucleus to corticotrophin-releasing factor immunoreactive cells in the paraventricular nucleus, which in turn contains fibres projecting to the adrenal gland . In addition, projections to the dorsomedial hypothalamus inhibit corticosterone release caused by endogenous vasopressin release and mediated by intermediate GABAergic neurones [12,13]. Interestingly, activation of CB1 receptors by cannabinoids results in suppression of GABA release , possibly counteracting an inhibitory effect of circadian rhythm genes on corticosterone levels. This molecular mechanism may influence cannabis use in sensation-seeking individuals.
Whatever the answers may be to the questions raised by this study, it becomes increasingly clear that we will only learn about the biological mechanisms underlying personality and addictive behaviour by pursuing an integrated approach, which combines phenotypic characterization along behavioural and biological lines with genetic experimentation in animal models and human subjects. The good news is: we can do it.[less]
Author: Partonen, T. et al.
Journal: Annals of Medicine 2007; 39(3):229-38
Link: Annals of Medicine
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Multiple lines of evidence suggest that the circadian clock contributes to the pathogenesis of winter depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). We hypothesized that sequence variations in three genes, including Per2, Arntl, and Npas2, which form a functional unit at the core of the circadian clock, predispose to winter depression. [more]
METHODS: In silico analysis of the biological effects of allelic differences suggested the target single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to be analyzed in a sample of 189 patients and 189 matched controls. The most relevant SNP in each gene was identified for the interaction analysis and included in the multivariate assessment of the combined effects of all three SNPs on the disease risk. RESULTS: SAD was associated with variations in each of the three genes in gene-wise logistic regression analysis. In combination analysis of variations of Per2, Arntl, and Npas2, we found additive effects and identified a genetic risk profile for the disorder. Carriers of the risk genotype combination had the odds ratio of 4.43 of developing SAD as compared with the remaining genotypes, and of 10.67 as compared with the most protective genotype combination. CONCLUSION: Variations in the three circadian clock genes Per2, Arntl, and Npas2 are associated with the disease, supporting the hypothesis that the circadian clock mechanisms contribute to winter depression. [less]
Author: Zghoul T, Abarca C, Sanchis-Segura C, Albrecht U, Schumann G, Spanagel R.
Journal: Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2007, 190(1):13-9
Abstract: RATIONALE: Alcohol consumption shows circadian rhythmicity, i.e., alcohol preference and intake change with circadian time. Circadian rhythmicity is controlled by a biological clock, which has been shown to govern behavioral, physiological, and hormonal processes in synchronization with internal as well as external cues. [more]
Molecular components of the clock include circadian clock genes such as period (Per) 1, 2, and 3. Previously, our lab demonstrated the involvement of mouse Per1 (mPer1) and Per2 (mPer2) in modulating cocaine sensitization and reward. What is more, we investigated voluntary alcohol consumption in Per2 ( Brdm1 ) mice with the results suggesting a relationship between this circadian clock gene and ethanol consumption. Objective To further complement the mPer2 study, our lab proceeded to assess mPer1's possible role on alcohol intake using operant and free choice two bottle paradigms.
METHODS: Using operant conditions, Per1 ( Brdm1 ) and wild type mice were trained to self-administer ethanol (10%) under a fixed ratio 1 (FR1) paradigm. This was ensued by a progressive ratio (PR) schedule. Furthermore, extinction sessions were introduced, followed by reinstatement measures of ethanol-seeking behavior. In another set of animals, the mice were exposed to voluntary long-term alcohol consumption, ensued by a 2-month deprivation phase, after which the alcohol deprivation effect (ADE) was measured.
RESULTS: Mutant mice did not display a significantly divergent number of reinforced lever presses (FR1 and PR) than wild type animals. Furthermore, no significant differences between groups were obtained regarding reinstatement of ethanol-seeking behavior. Similar results were obtained in the two bottle free choice paradigm. Specifically, no genotype differences concerning consumption and preference were observed over a broad range of different ethanol concentrations. Moreover, after the deprivation phase, both groups exhibited significant ADEs, yet no genotype differences.
CONCLUSIONS: Contrary to the mPer2 data, the present findings do not suggest a relationship between the circadian clock gene mPer1 and ethanol reinforcement, seeking, and relapse behavior.[less]
Author: Smolka MN, Bühler M, Schumann G, Klein S, Hu X-Z, Moayer M, Zimmer A, Wrase J, Flor H, Mann K, Braus D F, Goldman and Heinz A
Journal: Molecular Psychiatry 2007, 12(3):307-17
Abstract: Emotional reactivity and regulation are fundamental to human behavior. As inter-individual behavioral variation is affected by a multitude of different genes, there is intense interest to investigate gene–gene effects. Functional sequence variation at two genes has been associated with response and resiliency to emotionally unpleasant stimuli. [more]
These genes are the catechol-O-methyltransferase gene (COMT Val158Met) and the regulatory region (5-HTTLPR) of the serotonin transporter gene. Recently, it has been proposed that 5-HTT expression is not only affected by the common S/L variant of 5-HTTLPR but also by an A to G substitution. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we assessed the effects of COMT Val158Met and both 5-HTT genotypes on brain activation by standardized affective visual stimuli (unpleasant, pleasant, and neutral) in 48 healthy subjects. Based on previous studies, the analysis of genotype effects was restricted to limbic brain areas. To determine allele-dose effects, the number of COMT Met158 alleles (i.e., lower activity of COMT) and the number of 5-HTT low expressing alleles (S and G) was correlated with the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) response to pleasant or unpleasant stimuli compared to neutral stimuli. We observed an additive effect of COMT and both 5-HTT polymorphisms, accounting for 40% of the inter-individual variance in the averaged BOLD response of amygdala, hippocampal and limbic cortical regions elicited by unpleasant stimuli. Effects of 5-HTT and COMT genotypes did not affect brain processing of pleasant stimuli. These data indicate that functional brain imaging may be used to assess the interaction of multiple genes on the function of neuronal networks.
Author: Schumann G, Heinz A, Friedel E, Muller DJ, Puls, Wrase J, O’Brien C, Heilig M
Journal: Addiction 2007; 102(11):1689-95
Abstract: Introduction Substance use disorders are extremely costly to the individual and to society, and a substantial proportion of patients do not respond to the therapies offered. To improve existing treatments a better understanding of the neurobiological and genetic basis of addictive behaviour and substance use disorder is warranted. [more]
The aim of this lecture is to develop a model of integrated translational addiction research which may result in the establishment of individualized therapeutic approaches for patients with substance use disorders. Methods The genetic basis of substance use disorders is characterized by a contribution of multiple genes to the clinical phenotype. This genetic complexity is based on poly/oligogenicity and genetic heterogeneity, two parallel mechanisms which are present to varying extents in different substance use disorders. To disentangle the complexity and to identify the genetic and neurobiological basis of addictions an integrated, translational approach involving (functional) genetic analyses, animal behavioural experimentation and neuroimaging studies is proposed. Results Examples of this approach are provided by describing a line of work which identified the relevance of circadian rhythm genes in regulating alcohol drinking behaviour in animal models and humans, as well as a complementary approach using endophenotypes in human gene-neuroimaging studies where the effect of single and combined genetic variations on processing of aversive emotional stimuli in the limbic system was demonstrated. Discussion While the combination of genetic, behavioural and neuroimaging analyses are shown to be useful tools to address oligogenicity and genetic heterogeneity in substance use disorders, the clinical relevance of this approach needs to be developed further. Thus, two current major research projects, the European integrated project 'IMAGEN' and the NIHR-Biomedical Research Centre 'Mental Health' in the United Kingdom, which potentially integrate our proposed research strategy with clinically relevant outcomes, will be discussed. [less]
Author: Blomeyer D, Treutlein J, Esser G, Schmidt MH, Schumann G, Laucht M.
Journal: Biological Psychiatry 2007; Jun 26
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Recent animal research suggests that alterations in the corticotropin releasing hormone receptor 1 (CRHR1) may lead to heavy alcohol use following repeated stress. The aim of this study was to examine interactions between two haplotype-tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) covering the CRHR1 gene and adverse life events on heavy drinking in adolescents. [more]
METHODS: Data were available from the Mannheim Study of Children at Risk, an ongoing cohort study of the long-term outcome of early risk factors followed since birth. At age 15 years, 280 participants (135 males, 145 females) completed a self-report questionnaire measuring alcohol use and were genotyped for two SNPs (rs242938, rs1876831) of CRHR1. Assessment of negative life events over the past three years was obtained by a standardized interview with the parents.
RESULTS: Adolescents homozygous for the C allele of rs1876831 drank higher maximum amounts of alcohol per occasion and had greater lifetime rates of heavy drinking in relation to negative life events than individuals carrying the T allele. No gene x environment interactions were found for regular drinking and between rs242938 and stressful life events.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide first evidence in humans that the CRHR1 gene interacts with exposure to stressful life events to predict heavy alcohol use in adolescents. [less]
Author: Spanagel R
Journal: Physiol. Rev. 2009, 89, 649-705, 2009
Link: Physiol. Rev.
Abstract: Alcohol consumption is an integral part of daily life in many societies. The benefits associated with the production, sale, and use of alcoholic beverages come at an enormous cost to these societies. The World Health Organization ranks alcohol as one of the primary causes of the global burden of disease in industrialized countries. [more]
Alcohol-related diseases, especially alcoholism, are the result of cumulative responses to alcohol exposure, the genetic make-up of an individual, and the environmental perturbations over time. This complex gene × environment interaction, which has to be seen in a life-span perspective, leads to a large heterogeneity among alcohol-dependent patients, in terms of both the symptom dimensions and the severity of this disorder. Therefore, a reductionistic approach is not very practical if a better understanding of the pathological processes leading to an addictive behavior is to be achieved. Instead, a systems-oriented perspective in which the interactions and dynamics of all endogenous and environmental factors involved are centrally integrated, will lead to further progress in alcohol research. This review adheres to a systems biology perspective such that the interaction of alcohol with primary and secondary targets within the brain is described in relation to the behavioral consequences. As a result of the interaction of alcohol with these targets, alterations in gene expression and synaptic plasticity take place that lead to long-lasting alteration in neuronal network activity. As a subsequent consequence, alcohol-seeking responses ensue that can finally lead via complex environmental interactions to an addictive behavior. [less]
Author: Spanagel R, Kiefer F
Journal: Trends Pharmacol Sci 2008, 29, 109-115
Abstract: Multiple neurochemical pathways are involved in mediating craving and relapse to alcohol. Opioidergic and glutamatergic systems have a key role in alcoholism, as demonstrated by the clinically effective compounds naltrexone and acamprosate acting through these systems. [more]
The dopaminergic system has long featured in alcoholism research; hitherto disappointing results from clinical studies could improve following the discovery that dopamine D3 receptor antagonism produces consistent and robust results in preclinical studies. Corticotropin-releasing factor signalling and the endocannabinoid system integrate stress-related events and thereby mediate relapse behaviour. Overall, these new targets have yielded several compounds that are undergoing clinical testing. However, the heterogeneity in treatment response makes it necessary to characterize genetic and protein markers and endophenotypes for individualized pharmacotherapy. [less]
Author: Clarke TK, Treutlein J; Zimmermann US; Kiefer F; Skowronek MH; Rietschel M; Mann K; Schumann, G
Journal: Addiction Biology 2008; 13(1):1-14
Abstract: Genetic and environmental influences are both known to be causal factors in the development and maintenance of substance abuse disorders. This review aims to focus on the contributions of genetic and environmental research to the understanding of alcoholism and how gene–environment interactions result in a variety of addiction phenotypes. [more]
Gene–environment interactions have been reviewed by focusing on one of the most relevant environmental risk factors for alcoholism, stress. This is examined in more detail by reviewing the functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and its genetic and molecular components in this disorder. Recent evidence from animal and human studies have shown that the effects of stress on alcohol drinking are mediated by core HPA axis genes and are associated with genetic variations in those genes. The findings of the studies discussed here suggest that the collaborations of neuroscience, psychobiology and molecular genetics provide a promising framework to elucidate the exact mechanisms of gene–environment interactions as seen to convene upon the HPA axis and effect phenotypes of addiction. [less]
Author: Venegelinee V, Bilbao A, Molander A, Spanagel R
Journal: Brit J Pharmacol 2008, 154
Link: Brit_J_Pharmacol or http://www.zi-mannheim.de/1993.html
Abstract: Despite the generally held view that alcohol is an unspecific pharmacological agent, recent molecular pharmacology studies demonstrated that alcohol has only a few known primary targets.
These are the NMDA, GABAA, glycine, 5-hydroxytryptamine 3 (serotonin) and nicotinic ACh receptors as well as L-type Ca2+ channels and G-protein-activated inwardly rectifying K+ channels. Following this first hit of alcohol on specific targets in the brain, a second wave of indirect effects on a variety of neurotransmitter/neuropeptide systems is initiated that leads subsequently to the typical acute behavioural effects of alcohol, ranging from disinhibition to sedation and even hypnosis, with increasing concentrations of alcohol. Besides these acute pharmacodynamic aspects of alcohol, we discuss the neurochemical substrates that are involved in the initiation and maintenance phase of an alcohol drinking behaviour. Finally, addictive behaviour towards alcohol as measured by alcohol-seeking and relapse behaviour is reviewed in the context of specific neurotransmitter/neuropeptide systems and their signalling pathways. The activity of the mesolimbic dopaminergic system plays a crucial role during the initiation phase of alcohol consumption. Following long-term, chronic alcohol consumption virtually all brain neurotransmission seems to be affected, making it difficult to define which of the systems contributes the most to the transition from controlled to compulsive alcohol use. However, compulsive alcohol drinking is characterized by a decrease in the function of the reward neurocircuitry and a recruitment of antireward/stress mechanisms comes into place, with a hypertrophic corticotropin-releasing factor system and a hyperfunctional glutamatergic system being the most important ones. [less]
Author: Desrivières S, Krause K, Dyer A, Frank J, Blomeyer D, Lathrop M, Mann K, Banaschewski T, Laucht M, Schumann G
Journal: Public Library of Science ONE 2008; 12;3(3):e1769
Abstract: Background: While the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-dependent signaling pathway is typically known to regulate cell growth and survival, emerging evidence suggest a role for this pathway in regulating the behavioural responses to addictive drugs. [more]
Methodology/Principal Findings:To investigate whether PI3K contributes to patterns of risky alcohol drinking in human, we investigated genetic variations in PIK3R1, encoding the 85 kD regulatory subunit of PIK, in 145 family trios consisting of 15–16 year old adolescents and their parents. Screening for mutations in exons, exon-intron boundaries and regulatory sequences, we identified 14 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the PIK3R1 gene region from exon 1 to the beginning of the 3' untranslated region (UTR). These SNPs defined haplotypes for the respective PIK3R1 region. Four haplotype tagging (ht)SNPs (rs706713, rs2302975, rs171649 and rs1043526), discriminating all haplotypes with a frequency =4.5% were identified. These htSNPs were used to genotype adolescents from the “Mannheim Study of Risk Children” (MARC). Transmission disequilibrium tests in these adolescents and their parents demonstrated sex-specific association of two SNPs, rs2302975 and rs1043526, with patterns of risky alcohol consumption in male adolescents, including lifetime prevalence of drunkenness (p = 0.0019 and 0.0379, respectively) and elevated maximum amount of drinking (p = 0.0020 and 0.0494, respectively), as a measure for binge drinking pattern.
Conclusions/Significance: Our findings highlight a previously unknown relevance of PIK3R1 genotypes for alcohol use disorders and might help discriminate individuals at risk for alcoholism. [less]
Author: Laucht M et al.
Journal: Journal of the American Acad. of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2008, 47(6):673-81
Abstract: Objective: To clarify the nature of the association between dopamine genes and smoking by examining whether genetic variability in components of the dopamine pathway could explain refined phenotypes in adolescent smoking progression. [more]
Method: Data are from an ongoing prospective study of the long-term outcome of early risk factors studied since birth. At age 15 years, 220 participants (108 males, 112 females) completed a self-report questionnaire measuring smoking behavior and were genotyped for five dopamine gene variants.
Results: Smoking initiation was related to allelic variation in the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4), whereas smoking continuation and dependence showed association with the dopamine D2 receptor gene (DRD2). Adolescents with the seven-repeat allele of the common DRD4 exon 3 polymorphism had rates of ever smoking that were significantly higher than in those with other genotypes. Once smoking started, carriers of the T allele of a single nucleotide polymorphism of DRD2 (rs4648317) reported higher rates of current smoking and scored higher on nicotine dependence than their allelic counterparts. Among current smokers, intention to quit was significantly lower in adolescents homozygous for the 10-repeat allele of the common dopamine transporter 3' untranslated region polymorphism.
Conclusions: Our results provide preliminary evidence of genetic influences on different stages of smoking and suggest the importance of specific dopamine genes in smoking progression in adolescence.
Author: Dong, L. et al., IMAGEN consortium
Journal: American Journal Psychiatry 2011; 2011 Aug 9. PMID: 21828288 IF: 12.522
Link: American Journal Psychiatry 2011
Abstract: in press
Author: Morris HV, Dawson GR, Reynolds DS, Atack JR, Rosahl TW, Stephens DN
Journal: Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 2008, 90(1): 9-18
Abstract: a2 subunit-containing GABAA receptors are involved in incentive learning associated with cocaine, and in cocaine addiction. Deletion of a2-containing receptors abolishes cocaine-induced behavioural sensitisation (BS), while selective activation of a2 receptors, achieved using Ro 15-4513's agonist properties in a2(H101R) mice, [more]
induced BS. Here, we investigate further the mechanisms underlying Ro 15-4513-induced behavioural sensitisation in a2(H101R) mice. a2(H101R) mice sensitised to Ro 15-4513 (10 mg/kg) showed an enhanced stimulant response to cocaine (10 mg/kg). In contrast, cocaine (10 mg/kg)-sensitised a2(H101R) mice did not show enhanced sensitivity to the stimulant effects of Ro 15-4513 (1, 3 and 10 mg/kg), suggesting that the neural adaptations underlying Ro 15-4513 induced BS are related to, but not identical with those associated with cocaine-induced plasticity. Secondly, we investigated whether a2-containing receptors are involved in mediating the ability of BZs to facilitate cocaine-induced activity. The non-selective (i.e., a1, a2, a3 and a5 subtype) benzodiazepine GABAA receptor agonist midazolam (10 and 30 mg/kg) potentiated cocaine (10 mg/kg) hyperactivity in wildtype mice, but not in a2(H101R) mice, in which a2-containing receptors are insensitive to benzodiazepines. To determine where a2 receptors are localised we compared BZ-insensitive sites between wildtype (a4 and a6) and a2(H101R) (a2, a4 and a6) mice, using quantitative autoradiography to estimate [3H]Ro 15-4513 binding in the presence of 10 µM diazepam. a2 receptors were found in projection areas of the mesolimbic dopamine pathway including accumbens, central amygdala, and basolateral amygdala as well as CA1 and CA3 areas of the hippocampus. The involvement of the a2-containing receptor in mediating BZ's potentiating effect on cocaine hyperactivity suggests that the locomotor stimulant effects of BZs and psychostimulants may be mediated by a common neural system, but the lack of cross sensitisation to Ro 15-4513 in cocaine-sensitised a2(H101R) mice, suggests that this form of BS may occur downstream of plastic events underlying cocaine sensitisation. [less]
Author: Wong C.C.Y., Schumann G.
Journal: The Royal Society October 2008 vol. 363 no. 1507 3213-3222
Link: The Royal Society
Abstract: Addictions are common psychiatric disorders that exert high cost to the individual and to society. Addictions are a result of the interplay of multiple genetic and environmental factors. [more]
They are characterized by phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity as well as polygenicity, implying a contribution of different neurobiological mechanisms to the clinical diagnosis. Therefore, treatments for most substance use disorders are often only partially effective, with a substantial proportion of patients failing to respond. To address heterogeneity and polygenicity, strategies have been developed to identify more homogeneous subgroups of patients and to characterize genes contributing to their phenotype. These include genetic linkage and association studies as well as functional genetic analysis using endophenotypes and animal behavioural experimentation. Applying these strategies in a translational context aims at improving therapeutic response by the identification of subgroups of addiction patients for individualized, targeted treatment strategies. This article aims to discuss strategies addressing heterogeneity and polygenicity of substance use disorders by presenting results of recent research on genetic and environmental components of addiction. It will also introduce the European IMAGEN study that aims to integrate methodical approaches discussed in order to identify the genetic and neurobiological basis of behavioural traits relevant to the development of addictions. [less]
Author: Schumann G, Johann M, Frank J, Preuss U, Dahmen N, Laucht M, Rietschel M, Rujescu D, Lourdusamy A, Clarke TK, Krause K, Dyer A, Depner M, Wellek S, Treutlein J, Szegedi A, Giegling I, Cichon S, Blomeyer D, Heinz A, Heath S, Lathrop M, Wodarz N, Soyka M
Journal: Archives of General Psychiatry 2008, 65(7):826-838
Abstract: Context: Glutamatergic neurotransmission is implicated in alcohol-drinking behavior in animal models. Objective: To investigate whether genetic variations in glutamatergic neurotransmission genes, which are known to alter alcohol effects in rodents, contribute to the genetic basis of alcoholism in humans. [more]
Design: Association analysis of alcohol dependence and haplotype-tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) covering 10 glutamatergic genes. Resequencing of functional domains of these genes identified 204 SNPs. Haplotypes with a frequency of 5% or greater could be discriminated by 21 haplotype-tagging SNPs analyzed for association in 2 independent samples of alcohol-dependent adult patients and controls as well as adolescent trios.
Setting: Four university medical centers in the south of Germany.
Participants: One thousand three hundred thirty-seven patients and 1555 controls (study 1: 544 patients, 553 controls; study 2: 793 patients, 1002 controls). One hundred forty-four trios of 15-year-old adolescents assessed for risky drinking behavior.
Main Outcome Measures: Genotype profiles for GLAST; N-methyl-d-aspartate-receptor subunits NR1, NR2A, and NR2B; MGLUR5; NNOS; PRKG2; CAMK4; the regulatory subunit of PI3K; and CREB were analyzed for association with alcohol dependence using multivariate statistical analysis. Risky adolescent drinking was tested using the transmission disequilibrium test.
Resutls: Analysis of study 1 revealed that NR2A and MGLUR5 have the greatest relevance for human alcohol dependence among the genes selected with odds ratios of 2.35 and 1.69, respectively. Replication analysis in study 2 confirmed an association of alcohol dependence with NR2A (odds ratio, 2.01) but showed no association with MGLUR5. Combined analysis of study 1 and study 2 exhibited a more significant association on the Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel test (P < .001) for NR2A; NR2A was associated with positive family history, early onset of alcoholism, and maximum number of drinks in adults as well as risky drinking patterns in adolescents.
Conclusion: Genetic variations in NR2A have the greatest relevance for human alcohol dependence among the glutamatergic genes selected for their known alteration of alcohol effects in animal models. [less]
Author: Bilbao, A., et al.
Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105, 17549-17554
Abstract: please follow link, last entry on page, pdf file.
Author: Thyreau B, Barbot A, Schwartz Y, Devauchelle AD, Poline JB
Journal: Organization of Human Brain Mapping, 15 Annual Meeting 2009
Author: Oliver YP, Ripley TL, Stephens DN
Journal: Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2009 Mar 5. [Epub ahead of print]
Abstract: RATIONALE: The effects of ethanol on attention and impulsivity have been contradictory. OBJECTIVES: The aim of the present investigation is to study the effects of acute ethanol administration in measures of attention and response control in the five-choice serial reaction time task (5-CSRTT) in two strains of mice, C57BL/6JOlaHsd and CD1. [more]
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Mice were trained in the 5-CSRTT and then were injected intraperitoneally (i.p.) with 0, 0.5, 1 and 2 g/kg ethanol before testing under standard parameters and in a long inter-trial interval (ITI) session, which promotes the emergence of premature responses, a measure of poor inhibitory control. To examine if the effects of ethanol in the 5-CSRTT were due to its actions at GABA(A) receptors or at NMDA receptors, the GABA(A) receptor agonist diazepam (1 and 2 mg/kg, i.p.) and the non-competitive NMDA antagonist ketamine (10 and 20 mg/kg, i.p.) were tested in long ITI sessions. RESULTS: Ethanol did not affect attention or impulsivity in the standard procedure, but increased premature responding in long ITI sessions. The effects of ethanol were mimicked by diazepam in both strains of mice, whereas ketamine increased premature responding only in the CD1 strain. CONCLUSIONS: Ethanol's ability to increase impulsivity in the 5-CSRTT is mediated by both common and different neurotransmitter systems in the two strains of mice and is dependent on the task's parameters. Furthermore, ethanol did not decrease response accuracy, suggesting that attentional mechanisms are preserved after acute ethanol in mice and that the increases in impulsive behaviour are independent of attentional performance. [less]
Author: Heinrichs B.
Journal: Bioethical Inquiry
Abstract: It has become evident that neuroimaging raises new normative questions that cannot be addressed adequately within the (in this regard unspecific) frameworks of existing research ethics. Questions that are especially troubling are, among others, provoked by incidental findings. Two questions are particularly intricate in view of incidental findings: (1) How can the research subject’s right not to know be guaranteed? And (2) should a diagnostic check of scans by a neuroradiologist become an obligatory part of neuroscientific research protocols? The present paper examines these question against the background of two recent recommendations. The differentiation between “difference position” and “similarity position” serves as an analytic tool to further investigate the issue and to develop a distinct proposal for answering the questions.
Author: Howard MA, Krause K, Khawaja N, Massat N, Zelaya F, Schumann G, Huggins JP, Williams SCR, Renton TF;
Journal: Public Library of Science ONE 2011; 6(2):e17096 PMID: 21373203
Link: Public Library of Science ONE 2011
Abstract: Development of treatments for acute and chronic pain conditions remains a challenge, with an unmet need for improved sensitivity and reproducibility in measuring pain in patients. Here we used pulsed-continuous arterial spin-labelling [pCASL], a relatively novel perfusion magnetic-resonance imaging technique, in conjunction with a commonly-used post-surgical model, to measure changes in regional cerebral blood flow [rCBF] associated with the experience of being in ongoing pain. [more]
We demonstrate repeatable, reproducible assessment of ongoing pain that is independent of patient self-report. In a cross-over trial design, 16 participants requiring bilateral removal of lower-jaw third molars underwent pain-free pre-surgical pCASL scans. Following extraction of either left or right tooth, repeat scans were acquired during post-operative ongoing pain. When pain-free following surgical recovery, the pre/post-surgical scanning procedure was repeated for the remaining tooth. Voxelwise statistical comparison of pre and post-surgical scans was performed to reveal rCBF changes representing ongoing pain. In addition, rCBF values in predefined pain and control brain regions were obtained. rCBF increases (5–10%) representing post-surgical ongoing pain were identified bilaterally in a network including primary and secondary somatosensory, insula and cingulate cortices, thalamus, amygdala, hippocampus, midbrain and brainstem (including trigeminal ganglion and principal-sensory nucleus), but not in a control region in visual cortex. rCBF changes were reproducible, with no rCBF differences identified across scans within-session or between post-surgical pain sessions. This is the first report of the cerebral representation of ongoing post-surgical pain without the need for exogenous tracers. Regions of rCBF increases are plausibly associated with pain and the technique is reproducible, providing an attractive proposition for testing interventions for on-going pain that do not rely solely on patient self-report. Our findings have the potential to improve our understanding of the cerebral representation of persistent painful conditions, leading to improved identification of specific patient sub-types and implementation of mechanism-based treatments.
Author: Schumann G and the IMAGEN Consortium
Journal: Mol Psychiatry 2010; 15(12):1128-39; PMID: 21102431
Link: Mol Psychiatry 2010
Abstract: A fundamental function of the brain is to evaluate the emotional and motivational significance of stimuli and to adapt behaviour accordingly. The IMAGEN study is the first multicentre genetic-neuroimaging study aimed at identifying the genetic and neurobiological basis of individual variability in impulsivity, reinforcer sensitivity and emotional reactivity, and determining their predictive value for the development of frequent psychiatric disorders. [more]
Comprehensive behavioural and neuropsychological characterization, functional and structural neuroimaging and genome-wide association analyses of 2000 14-year-old adolescents are combined with functional genetics in animal and human models. Results will be validated in 1000 adolescents from the Canadian Saguenay Youth Study. The sample will be followed up longitudinally at the age of 16 years to investigate the predictive value of genetics and intermediate phenotypes for the development of frequent psychiatric disorders. This review describes the strategies the IMAGEN consortium used to meet the challenges posed by large-scale multicentre imaging-genomics investigations. We provide detailed methods and Standard Operating Procedures that we hope will be helpful for the design of future studies. These include standardization of the clinical, psychometric and neuroimaging-acquisition protocols, development of a central database for efficient analyses of large multimodal data sets and new analytic approaches to large-scale genetic neuroimaging analyses.
Author: Repunte-Canonigo V, van der Stap LD, Chen J, Sabino V, Wagner U, Zorrilla EP, Schumann G, Roberts AJ, Sanna PP.
Journal: Brain Res. 2010 Jun 21;1339:1-10. Epub 2010 Apr 10.
Link: Brain Research
Abstract: Adaptations in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) have been implicated in alcohol and drug addiction. To identify genes that may contribute to excessive drinking, here we performed microarray analyses in laser microdissected rat ACC after a single or repeated administration of an intoxicating dose of alcohol (3 g/kg). Expression of the small G protein K-ras was differentially regulated following both single and repeated alcohol administration. [more]
We also observed that voluntary alcohol intake in K-ras heterozygous null mice (K-ras(+/-)) did not increase after withdrawal from repeated cycles of intermittent ethanol vapor exposure, unlike in their wild-type littermates. To identify K-ras regulated pathways, we then profiled gene expression in the ACC of K-ras(+/-), heterozygous null mice for the K-ras negative regulator Nf1 (Nf1(+/-)) and wild-type mice following repeated administration of an intoxicating dose of alcohol. Pathway analysis showed that alcohol differentially affected various pathways in a K-ras dependent manner - some of which previously shown to be regulated by alcohol - including the insulin/PI3K pathway, the NF-kappaB, the phosphodiesterases (PDEs) pathway, the Jak/Stat and the adipokine signaling pathways. Altogether, the data implicate K-ras-regulated pathways in the regulation of excessive alcohol drinking after a history of dependence.
Author: 2. Dixon CI, Morris HV, Breen G, Desrivieres S, Vallada H, Rosahl TW, Guindalini C, Laranjeira R, Messas G, King SL, Atack JR, Schumann G, Stephens DN.
Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2010; 107(5):2289-94; PMID: 20133874: IF: 9.432
Link: Proc Natl Acad Sci USA
Abstract: Because GABA(A) receptors containing alpha2 subunits are highly represented in areas of the brain, such as nucleus accumbens (NAcc), frontal cortex, and amygdala, regions intimately involved in signaling motivation and reward, we hypothesized that manipulations of this receptor subtype would influence processing of rewards. Voltage-clamp recordings from NAcc medium spiny neurons of mice with alpha2 gene deletion showed reduced synaptic GABA(A) receptor-mediated responses. [more]
Because GABA(A) receptors containing alpha2 subunits are highly represented in areas of the brain, such as nucleus accumbens (NAcc), frontal cortex, and amygdala, regions intimately involved in signaling motivation and reward, we hypothesized that manipulations of this receptor subtype would influence processing of rewards. Voltage-clamp recordings from NAcc medium spiny neurons of mice with alpha2 gene deletion showed reduced synaptic GABA(A) receptor-mediated responses. Behaviorally, the deletion abolished cocaine's ability to potentiate behaviors conditioned to rewards (conditioned reinforcement), and to support behavioral sensitization. In mice with a point mutation in the benzodiazepine binding pocket of alpha2-GABA(A) receptors (alpha2H101R), GABAergic neurotransmission in medium spiny neurons was identical to that of WT (i.e., the mutation was silent), but importantly, receptor function was now facilitated by the atypical benzodiazepine Ro 15-4513 (ethyl 8-amido-5,6-dihydro-5-methyl-6-oxo-4H-imidazo [1,5-a] [1,4] benzodiazepine-3-carboxylate). In alpha2H101R, but not WT mice, Ro 15-4513 administered directly into the NAcc-stimulated locomotor activity, and when given systemically and repeatedly, induced behavioral sensitization. These data indicate that activation of alpha2-GABA(A) receptors (most likely in NAcc) is both necessary and sufficient for behavioral sensitization. Consistent with a role of these receptors in addiction, we found specific markers and haplotypes of the GABRA2 gene to be associated with human cocaine addiction.
Author: Desrivières S, Lourdusamy A, Müller C, Ducci F, Wong CP, Fernandes A, Elliott P, Jarvelin MR, Schumann G.
Journal: Addiction Biology 2010 Aug 23 [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 20731635; IF: 4.953
Link: Addiction Biology
Abstract: [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 20731635; IF: 4.953
Author: 4. Clarke TK, Dempster E, Docherty SJ , Desrivieres S , Lourdsamy A , Wodarz N, Ridinger, Maier W, Rietschel M, Schumann G.
Journal: Addiction Biology 2010 Nov 11. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 21070505; IF: 4.953
Abstract: Addiction Biology 2010 Nov 11. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 21070505; IF: 4.953
Author: Ducci F, Kaakinen M, Pouta A, Hartikainen AL, Veijola J, Isohanni M, Charoen P, Coin L, Hoggart C, Ekelund J, Peltonen L, Freimer N, Elliott P, Schumann G, Järvelin MR.
Journal: Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Apr 1;69(7):650-60. Epub 2010 Dec 17.
Link: Biological Psychiatry 2011
Abstract: BACKGROUND: CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 and TTC12-ANKK1-DRD2 gene-clusters influence smoking behavior. Our aim was to test developmental changes in their effects as well as the interplays between them and with nongenetic factors.
METHODS: Participants included 4762 subjects from a general population-based, prospective Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort (NFBC 1966). Smoking behavior was collected at age 14 and 31 years. Information on maternal smoking, socioeconomic status, and novelty seeking were also collected. Structural equation modeling was used to construct an integrative etiologic model including genetic and nongenetic factors.
RESULTS: Several single nucleotide polymorphisms in both gene-clusters were significantly associated with smoking. The most significant were in CHRNA3 (rs1051730, p = 1.1 × 10(-5)) and in TTC12 (rs10502172, p = 9.1 × 10(-6)). CHRNA3-rs1051730[A] was more common among heavy/regular smokers than nonsmokers with similar effect-sizes at age 14 years (odds ratio [95% CI]: 1.27 [1.06-1.52]) and 31 years (1.28 [1.13-1.44]). TTC12-rs10502172[G] was more common among smokers than nonsmokers with stronger association at 14 years (1.33 [1.11-1.60]) than 31 years (1.14 [1.02-1.28]). In adolescence, carriers of three-four risk alleles at either CHRNA3-rs1051730 or TTC12-rs10502172 had almost threefold odds of smoking regularly than subjects with no risk alleles. TTC12-rs10502172 effect on smoking in adulthood was mediated by its effect on smoking in adolescence and via novelty seeking. Effect of CHRNA3-rs1051730 on smoking in adulthood was direct.
CONCLUSIONS: TTC12-ANKK1-DRD2s seemed to influence smoking behavior mainly in adolescence, and its effect is partially mediated by personality characteristics promoting drug-seeking behavior. In contrast, CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 is involved in the transition toward heavy smoking in mid-adulthood and in smoking persistence. Factors related to familial and social disadvantages were strong independent predictors of smoking.
Author: Clarke TK, Laucht M, Ridinger M, Wodarz N, Rietschel M, Maier W, Lathrop M, Lourdusamy A, Zimmermann US, Desrivieres S, Schumann G.
Journal: Published online 2011 February 9. doi: 10.1038/npp.2010.247
Link: Neuropsychopharmacology 2011 Feb 9
Abstract: Alcohol abuse and dependence have proven to be complex genetic traits that are influenced by environmental factors. Primate and human studies have shown that early life stress increases the propensity for alcohol abuse in later life. The reinforcing properties of alcohol are mediated by dopaminergic signaling; however, there is little evidence to indicate how stress alters alcohol reinforcement. KCNJ6 (the gene encoding G-protein-coupled inwardly rectifying potassium channel 2 (GIRK2)) is a brain expressed potassium channel with inhibitory effects on dopaminergic tone. [more]
The properties of GIRK2 have been shown to be enhanced by the stress peptide corticotrophin-releasing hormone. Therefore, we sought to examine the role of KCNJ6 polymorphisms in adult alcohol dependence and stress-related alcohol abuse in adolescents. We selected 11 SNPs in the promoter region of KCNJ6, which were genotyped in 1152 adult alcohol dependents and 1203 controls. One SNP, rs2836016, was found to be associated with alcohol dependence (p=0.01, false discovery rate). We then assessed rs2836016 in an adolescent sample of 261 subjects, which were characterized for early life stress and adolescent hazardous drinking, defined using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), to examine gene–environment interactions. In the adolescent sample, the risk genotype of rs2836016 was significantly associated with increased AUDIT scores, but only in those individuals exposed to high levels of psychosocial stress in early life (p=0.01). Our findings show that KCNJ6 is associated with alcohol dependence and may moderate the effect of early psychosocial stress on risky alcohol drinking in adolescents. We have identified a candidate gene for future studies investigating a possible functional link between the response to stress and alcohol reinforcement.
Author: Rucker J, Newman S, Gray J, Gunasinghe C, Broadbent M, Brittain P, Baggaley M, Denis M, Turp J, Stewart R, Lovestone S, Schumann G, Farmer A, McGuffin P.
Journal: Br J Psychiatry. 2011 Aug;199(2):151-5.
Link: Br J Psychiatry. 2011 Aug
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The increasingly large sample size requirements of modern adult mental health research suggests the need for a data collection and diagnostic application that can be used across a broad range of clinical and research populations. Aims To develop a data collection and diagnostic application that can be used across a broad range of clinical and research settings. [more]
METHOD: We expanded and redeveloped the OPCRIT system into a broadly applicable diagnostic and data-collection package and carried out an interrater reliability study of this new tool.
RESULTS: OPCRIT+ performed well in an interrater reliability study with relatively inexperienced clinicians, giving a combined, weighted kappa of 0.70 for diagnostic reliability.
CONCLUSIONS: OPCRIT+ showed good overall interrater reliability scores for diagnoses. It is now incorporated in the electronic patient record of the Maudsley and associated hospitals. OPCRIT+ can be downloaded free of charge at http://sgdp.iop.kcl.ac.uk/opcritplus.
Author: Schneider S, Peters J, Bromberg U, Brassen S, Miedl SF, Banaschewski T, Barker GJ, Conrod P, Flor H, Garavan H, Heinz A, Ittermann B, Lathrop M, Loth E, Mann K, Martinot JL, Nees F, Paus T, Rietschel M, Robbins TW, Smolka MN, Spanagel R, Ströhle A, Struve
Journal: Am J Psychiatry. 2012 Jan;169(1):39-46. Epub 2011 Sep 28.
Link: Am J Psychiatry. 2012 Jan
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Increased risk-taking behavior has been associated with addiction, a disorder also linked to abnormalities in reward processing. Specifically, an attenuated response of reward-related areas (e.g., the ventral striatum) to nondrug reward cues has been reported in addiction. One unanswered question is whether risk-taking preference is associated with striatal reward processing in the absence of substance abuse. [more]
METHOD: Functional and structural MRI was performed in 266 healthy young adolescents and in 31 adolescents reporting potentially problematic substance use. Activation during reward anticipation (using the monetary incentive delay task) and to gray matter density were measured. Risk-taking bias was assessed by the Cambridge Gamble Task.
RESULTS: With increasing risk-taking bias, the ventral striatum showed decreased activation bilaterally during reward anticipation. Voxel-based morphometry showed that greater risk-taking bias was also associated with and partially mediated by lower gray matter density in the same structure. The decreased activation was also observed when participants with virtually any substance use were excluded. The group with potentially problematic substance use showed greater risk taking as well as lower striatal activation relative to matched comparison subjects from the main sample.
CONCLUSIONS: Risk taking and functional and structural properties of the reward system in adolescents are strongly linked prior to a possible onset of substance abuse, emphasizing their potential role in the predisposition to drug abuse.
Author: Peters J et al.and IMAGEN consortium
Journal: American Journal Psychiatry 2011 March 1; PMID: 21362742; IF: 12.522
Link: American Journal Psychiatry 2011 March 1
METHOD: Functional MRI was performed during reward anticipation in 43 adolescent smokers and 43 subjects matched on age, gender, and IQ. The authors also assessed group differences in novelty seeking, impulsivity, and reward delay discounting.
RESULTS: In relation to the comparison subjects, the adolescent smokers showed greater reward delay discounting and higher scores for novelty seeking. Neural responses in the ventral striatum during reward anticipation were significantly lower in the smokers than in the comparison subjects, and in the smokers this response was correlated with smoking frequency. Notably, the lower response to reward anticipation in the ventral striatum was also observed in smokers (N=14) who had smoked on fewer than 10 occasions.
CONCLUSIONS: The present findings suggest that a lower response to reward anticipation in the ventral striatum may be a vulnerability factor for the development of early nicotine use.
Author: Schumann G. et al
Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Apr 26;108(17):7119-24. Epub 2011 Apr 6.
Link: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Apr 26
Abstract: Alcohol consumption is a moderately heritable trait, but the genetic basis in humans is largely unknown, despite its clinical and societal importance. We report a genome-wide association study meta-analysis of ~2.5 million directly genotyped or imputed SNPs with alcohol consumption (gram per day per kilogram body weight) among 12 population-based samples of European ancestry, comprising 26,316 individuals, with replication genotyping in an additional 21,185 individuals. SNP rs6943555 in autism susceptibility candidate 2 gene (AUTS2) was associated with alcohol consumption at genome-wide significance (P = 4 × 10(-8) to P = 4 × 10(-9)). [more]
We found a genotype-specific expression of AUTS2 in 96 human prefrontal cortex samples (P = 0.026) and significant (P < 0.017) differences in expression of AUTS2 in whole-brain extracts of mice selected for differences in voluntary alcohol consumption. Down-regulation of an AUTS2 homolog caused reduced alcohol sensitivity in Drosophila (P < 0.001). Our finding of a regulator of alcohol consumption adds knowledge to our understanding of genetic mechanisms influencing alcohol drinking behavior.
Author: Tahmasebi AM, rt al and IMAGEN Consortium.
Journal: Hum Brain Mapp. 2012 Apr;33(4):938-57. doi: 10.1002/hbm.21261. Epub 2011 Mar 17.
Link: Hum Brain Mapp. 2012 Apr
Abstract: Large-scale magnetic resonance (MR) studies of the human brain offer unique opportunities for identifying genetic and environmental factors shaping the human brain. Here, we describe a dataset collected in the context of a multi-centre study of the adolescent brain, namely the IMAGEN Study. We focus on one of the functional paradigms included in the project to probe the brain network underlying processing of ambiguous and angry faces. [more]
Using functional MR (fMRI) data collected in 1,110 adolescents, we constructed probabilistic maps of the neural network engaged consistently while viewing the ambiguous or angry faces; 21 brain regions responding to faces with high probability were identified. We were also able to address several methodological issues, including the minimal sample size yielding a stable location of a test region, namely the fusiform face area (FFA), as well as the effect of acquisition site (eight sites) and scanner (four manufacturers) on the location and magnitude of the fMRI response to faces in the FFA. Finally, we provided a comparison between male and female adolescents in terms of the effect sizes of sex differences in brain response to the ambiguous and angry faces in the 21 regions of interest. Overall, we found a stronger neural response to the ambiguous faces in several cortical regions, including the fusiform face area, in female (vs. male) adolescents, and a slightly stronger response to the angry faces in the amygdala of male (vs. female) adolescents.
Author: Müller CP, Schumann G.
Journal: Behavioural Brain Sciences 2011; 34(6): 293-347. PMID: 22074962. IF 19.045
Link: Behavioural Brain Sciences 2011
Abstract: Most people who are regular consumers of psychoactive drugs are not drug addicts, nor will they ever become addicts. In neurobiological theories, non-addictive drug consumption is acknowledged only as a "necessary" prerequisite for addiction, but not as a stable and widespread behavior in its own right. This target article proposes a new neurobiological framework theory for non-addictive psychoactive drug consumption, introducing the concept of "drug instrumentalization." [more]
Psychoactive drugs are consumed for their effects on mental states. Humans are able to learn that mental states can be changed on purpose by drugs, in order to facilitate other, non-drug-related behaviors. We discuss specific "instrumentalization goals" and outline neurobiological mechanisms of how major classes of psychoactive drugs change mental states and serve non-drug-related behaviors. We argue that drug instrumentalization behavior may provide a functional adaptation to modern environments based on a historical selection for learning mechanisms that allow the dynamic modification of consummatory behavior. It is assumed that in order to effectively instrumentalize psychoactive drugs, the establishment of and retrieval from a drug memory is required. Here, we propose a new classification of different drug memory subtypes and discuss how they interact during drug instrumentalization learning and retrieval. Understanding the everyday utility and the learning mechanisms of non-addictive psychotropic drug use may help to prevent abuse and the transition to drug addiction in the future.
Author: Müller CP, Schumann G.
Journal: Behav Brain Sci. 2011 Dec;34(6):328-47.
Link: Behav Brain Sci. 2011 Dec
Abstract: Proposing a change to the view on psychoactive drug use in non-addicts touches a sensitive issue because of its potential implications to addiction prevention, therapeutic practice, and drug policy. Commentators raised nine questions that ranged from clarifications, suggested extensions of the model to supporting data previously not regarded, to assumptions on the implications of the model. [more]
Here, we take up the suggestions of the commentators to expand the model to behavioral addictions, discuss additional instrumentalization goals, and review the evidence from laboratory animal studies on drug instrumentalization. We consider further the role of sociocultural factors and individual development in the establishment in drug instrumentalization and addiction. Finally, we clarify which implications we think this model may have. We conclude that drug instrumentalization theory can be further applied to other behaviors but will require a sensitive debate when used for drug and addiction policy that directly affects prevention and treatment.
Author: Sylvane Desrivières, Sergey P. Pronko, Anbarasu Lourdusamy, Francesca Ducci, Paula L. Hoffman, Norbert Wodarz, Monika Ridinger, Marcella Rietschel ,Diana Zelenika, Mark Lathrop, Gunter Schumann, and Boris Tabakoff
Journal: Biol Psychiatry. 2011 June 1; 69(11): 1100–1108.
Link: Biol Psychiatry. 2011 June 1
Alcohol has been shown to critically modulate cyclic adenosine-3',5' monophosphate (cAMP) signaling. A number of downstream effectors that respond to the cAMP signals (e.g., protein kinase A, cAMP response element binding protein) have, in turn, been examined in relation to alcohol consumption. These studies did not, however, delineate the point at which the actions of alcohol on the cAMP cascade might translate into differences in drinking behavior. To further understand the role of cAMP synthesis in alcohol drinking and dependence, we investigated a specific adenylyl cyclase isoform, adenylyl cyclase (AC) Type 7, whose activity is selectively enhanced by ethanol. [more]
We measured alcohol consumption and preference in mice in which one copy of the Adcy7 gene was disrupted (Adcy7+/-). To demonstrate relevance of this gene for alcohol dependence in humans, we tested the association of polymorphisms in the ADCY7 gene with alcohol dependence in a sample of 1703 alcohol-dependent individuals and 1347 control subjects.
We show that Adcy7+/- female mice have higher preference for alcohol than wild-type mice, whereas there is little difference in alcohol consumption or preference between Adcy7+/- male mice and wild-type control subjects. In the human sample, we found that single nucleotide polymorphisms in ADCY7 associate with alcohol dependence in women, and these markers are also associated with ADCY7 expression (messenger RNA) levels.
These findings implicate adenylyl cyclase Type 7 as a critical component of the molecular pathways contributing to alcohol drinking and the development of alcohol dependence.
Author: Scheider S. et al and IMAGEN consortium
Journal: Neuroimage. 2011 Jun 1;56(3):1847-53. Epub 2011 Feb 22.
Link: Neuroimage. 2011 Jun 1
Abstract: Previous studies have observed a sex-dependent lateralization of amygdala activation related to emotional memory. Specifically, it was shown that the activity of the right amygdala correlates significantly stronger with memory for images judged as arousing in men than in women, and that there is a significantly stronger relationship in women than in men between activity of the left amygdala and memory for arousing images. [more]
Using a large sample of 235 male adolescents and 235 females matched for age and handedness, we investigated the sex-specific lateralization of amygdala activation during an emotional face perception fMRI task. Performing a formal sex by hemisphere analysis, we observed in males a significantly stronger right amygdala activation as compared to females. Our results indicate that adolescents display a sex-dependent lateralization of amygdala activation that is also present in basic processes of emotional perception. This finding suggests a sex-dependent development of human emotion processing and may further implicate possible etiological pathways for mental disorders most frequent in adolescent males (i.e., conduct disorder).
Author: Clarke TK, Nymberg C and Schumann G.
Journal: Alcohol Research and Health 2011; in press. IF 3.39
Abstract: Alcohol Research and Health 2011; in press. IF 3.39
Author: Loth E, Carvalho F, Schumann G.
Journal: Trends Cogn Sci. 2011 Sep;15(9):436-46. Epub 2011 Aug 15.
Link: Trends Cogn Sci. 2011 Sep
Abstract: A key challenge for intervention and prevention of addictions is the identification of genetic, neurobiological and cognitive risk profiles that can predict which adolescents are at risk for addiction. Abnormalities in reinforcement behaviour have been linked to addiction vulnerability and imaging genetic studies have begun to elucidate the mechanisms by which genetic and environmental factors influence brain function underlying individual variability in reinforcement behaviour. [more]
Most studies have examined associations between a few well-characterised candidate polymorphisms and task-related brain activation differences in individual regions of interest. Here we propose that integrating the imaging genetic strategy with biological network approaches and longitudinal adolescent designs in large multi-centre samples may offer promising opportunities to identify risk markers for early diagnosis, progression and prediction of addictions.
Author: Easton AC, Lucchesi W, Schumann G, Giese KP, Müller CP, Fernandes C.
Journal: Neuropharmacology. 2011 Dec;61(8):1424-31. Epub 2011 Aug 31.
Link: Neuropharmacology. 2011 Dec
Abstract: Autophosphorylation of aCaMKII is regarded as a 'molecular memory' for Ca(2+) transients and a crucial mechanism in aversely, but less so in appetitively, motivated learning and memory. While there is a growing body of research implicating aCaMKII in general in behavioral responses to threat or fearful stimuli, little is known about the contribution of the autophosphorylation. The present study asked how aCaMKII autophosphorylation controls anxiety-like behavioral responses toward novel, potentially threatening stimuli. [more]
We tested homozygous and heterozygous T286A aCaMKII autophosphorylation deficient mice and wild types in a systematic series of behavioral tests. Homozygous mutants were more active in the open field test and showed reduced anxiety-related behavior in the light/dark test, but these findings were confounded by a hyperlocomotor phenotype. The analysis of elevated plus maze showed significantly reduced anxiety-related behavior in the aCaMKII autophosphorylation-deficient mice which appeared to mediate a hyperlocomotor response. An analysis of home cage behavior, where neither novel nor threatening stimuli were present, showed no differences in locomotor activity between genotypes. Increased locomotion was not observed in the novel object exploration test in the aCaMKII autophosphorylation-deficient mice, implying that hyperactivity does not occur in response to discrete novel stimuli. The present data suggest that the behavior of aCaMKII autophosphorylation-deficient mice cannot simply be described as a low anxiety phenotype. Instead it is suggested that aCaMKII autophosphorylation influences locomotor reactivity to novel environments that are potentially, but not necessarily threatening.
Author: Chambers JC et al.
Journal: Nat Genet. 2011 Oct 16;43(11):1131-8. doi: 10.1038/ng.970.
Link: Nat Genet. 2011 Oct 16
Abstract: Concentrations of liver enzymes in plasma are widely used as indicators of liver disease. We carried out a genome-wide association study in 61,089 individuals, identifying 42 loci associated with concentrations of liver enzymes in plasma, of which 32 are new associations (P = 10(-8) to P = 10(-190)). We used functional genomic approaches including metabonomic profiling and gene expression analyses to identify probable candidate genes at these regions. [more]
We identified 69 candidate genes, including genes involved in biliary transport (ATP8B1 and ABCB11), glucose, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism (FADS1, FADS2, GCKR, JMJD1C, HNF1A, MLXIPL, PNPLA3, PPP1R3B, SLC2A2 and TRIB1), glycoprotein biosynthesis and cell surface glycobiology (ABO, ASGR1, FUT2, GPLD1 and ST3GAL4), inflammation and immunity (CD276, CDH6, GCKR, HNF1A, HPR, ITGA1, RORA and STAT4) and glutathione metabolism (GSTT1, GSTT2 and GGT), as well as several genes of uncertain or unknown function (including ABHD12, EFHD1, EFNA1, EPHA2, MICAL3 and ZNF827). Our results provide new insight into genetic mechanisms and pathways influencing markers of liver function.