The present study investigated the genetic contribution to alcohol dependence (AD) using genome-wide association data from three German samples. These comprised patients with: (i) AD; (ii) chronic alcoholic pancreatitis (ACP); and (iii) alcohol-related liver cirrhosis (ALC). Single marker, gene-based, and pathway analyses were conducted. A significant association was detected for the ADH1B locus in a gene-based approach (puncorrected = 1.2 × 10−6; pcorrected = 0.020). This was driven by the AD subsample. No association with ADH1B was found in the combined ACP + ALC sample. On first inspection, this seems surprising, since ADH1B is a robustly replicated risk gene for AD and may therefore be expected to be associated also with subgroups of AD patients. The negative finding in the ACP + ALC sample, however, may reflect genetic stratification as well as random fluctuation of allele frequencies in the cases and controls, demonstrating the importance of large samples in which the phenotype is well assessed.
- alcohol dependence
- chronic alcoholic pancreatitis
- alcoholic liver cirrhosis
- genome-wide association study
- alcohol dehydrogenase