Backgroud: Craving for alcohol and food has been studied in association with alcohol dependence and eating disorders, respectively. One subclass of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor, 1519T>C GABAAα6 has been reported to be associated with both alcohol dependence and weight gain. In this study, we hypothesized that patients being treated for alcohol dependence would report decreased craving for alcohol, but an increased craving for food during a 4-week treatment period. We further hypothesized that the T allele of the 1519T>C GABAAα6 gene would modulate the extent of changes in craving for alcohol and food. Methods: This study included 98 male inpatients being treated for alcohol dependence. A 7-point visual analog scale was applied to evaluate relative levels of alcohol and food craving at baseline and again 4 weeks later. Body weight was also checked at the same periods. Genotyping of the 1519T>C SNP in GABAAα6 was carried out by restriction fragment length polymorphism. Results: There were significant changes in craving for alcohol and food in all patients with alcohol dependence. During the treatment period, body weight increased in all patients with alcohol dependence. Changes in alcohol and food craving in T-allele carriers (CT + TT) of 1519T>C GABAAα6 were greater than those observed in CC homozygotes. In T-allele carriers, body weight significantly increased and the changes in weight showed a negative correlation with the change in the craving for alcohol and a positive correlation with the changes in craving for food. Discussion: The current results suggest that in T-allele carriers the change in craving for alcohol during treatment for alcohol dependence is negatively associated with changes in craving for food. The T allele of the 1519T>C GABAAα6 gene may be one of the modulating factors associated with changes in craving for alcohol and food during treatment of patients with alcohol dependence.
- Alcohol dependence
- Body mass index
- Gamma-aminobutyric acid A α6 (GABAα6)