Previous studies have indicated that genetic factors substantially affect development of substance use disorders, including methamphetamine dependence. Prodynorphin (PDYN) is an opioid peptide precursor that yields dynorphins, endogenous κ opioid-receptor agonists that play important roles in substance abuse. A physiologically active polymorphism of 1-4 repeats of a 68-bp element in the promoter region of the PDYN gene has been identified. We analyzed this polymorphism of the PDYN gene by a case-control association study in 143 patients with methamphetamine dependence and 209 healthy controls in the Japanese population. A 3- or 4-repeat allele in the PDYN gene promoter was found significantly more frequently in patients with methamphetamine dependence than in controls (χ2 = 9.45, p = 0.0021). A 3- or 4-repeat allele in the PDYN gene promoter, which was shown to produce significantly higher transcription activity of the PDYN gene than a 1- or 2-repeat allele, is a genetic risk factor for development of methamphetamine dependence (odds ratio: 1.83, 95% CI = 1.24-2.68).
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