PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles

Biochemistry - Neuroscience - Respiratory Medicine

Glutamate and Synaptic Plasticity Systems and Smoking Behavior: Results from a Genetic Association Study
Published: Monday, June 18, 2012
Author: Vanessa Argondizo dos Santos et al.

by Vanessa Argondizo dos Santos, Jose Miguel Chatkin, Claiton Henrique Dotto Bau, Vanessa Rodrigues Paixão-Côrtes, Ye Sun, Noe Zamel, Katherine Siminovitch

Smoking behavior is a multifactorial phenotype with significant heritability. Identifying the specific loci that influence smoking behavior could provide important etiological insights and facilitate the development of treatments to further reduce smoking related mortality. Although several studies pointed to different candidate genes for smoking, there is still a need for replication especially in samples from different countries. In the present study, we investigated whether 21 positive signals for smoking behavior from these studies are replicated in a sample of 531 blood donors from the Brazilian population. The polymorphisms were chosen based on their representativeness of different candidate biologic systems, strength of previous evidence, location and allele frequencies. By genotyping with the Sequenom MassARRAY iPLEX platform and subsequent statistical analysis using Plink software, we show that two of the SNPs studied, in the SLC1A2 (rs1083658) and ACTN1 (rs2268983) genes, were associated with smoking behavior in our study population. These genes are involved in crucial aspects of nicotine dependence, glutamate system and synaptic plasticity, and as such, are biologically plausible candidates that merit further molecular analyses so as to clarify their potential role in smoking behavior.