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The mu-opioid receptor (OPRM1) is the primary binding site of action for many opioid drugs and for binding of beta-endorphins. One of the effects of opiate and alcohol use is to increase release of beta-endorphins, which subsequently increases release of dopamine and stimulates cravings. Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist used to treat abuse of opiates, alcohol, and other substances. Naltrexone binds to OPRM1, preventing beta-endorphin binding and subsequently reducing the craving for substances of abuse.(1)
The A355G polymorphism (rs1799971) in exon 1 of the OPRM1 gene (OPRM1) results in an amino acid change, Asn102Asp. Historically, this mutation has been referred to in the literature as 118A->G (Asn40Asp).(2) The G allele leads to loss of the putative N-glycosylation site in the extracellular receptor region, causing a decrease in OPRM1 mRNA and protein levels, but a 3-fold increase in beta-endorphin binding at the receptor.(3) Studies have shown individuals who carry at least 1 G allele have significantly better outcomes with naltrexone therapy including lower rate of relapse (P=0.044), a longer time to return to heavy drinking, and <20% relapse rate after 12 weeks of treatment compared with individuals who are homozygous for the A allele (55% relapse rate).(4) Other studies indicated that 87.1% of G allele carriers had a good clinical outcome, compared with only 54.8% of individuals with the A/A genotype (odds ratio, 5.75; confidence interval, 1.88-17.54).(1) A haplotype-based approach confirmed that the single OPRM1 355A->G locus was predictive of response to naltrexone treatment.(1)
Frequency of the 355G allele varies with ethnicity but ranges between 10% and 40% (European 20%, Asian 40%, African American 10%, and Hispanic 25%).
Identifying individuals with a higher probability of successful treatment for alcoholism with naltrexone
An interpretative report will be provided.
Note that in patients who have received heterologous blood transfusions before a saliva sample was acquired, the saliva samples may contain donor DNA. Return to recipient genotype usually occurs after 6 weeks. Similarly, saliva samples obtained from patients after allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation can contain donor DNA. In both cases, this may result in genotyping results that reflect the genotype of the recipient, the donor, or a blend of the donor and recipient. Results obtained under these circumstances may not accurately reflect the recipient’s genotype.
Rare polymorphisms exist that could lead to false-negative or false-positive results. If results obtained do not match the clinical findings, additional testing could be considered.
An interpretive report will be provided.
1. Somogyi A, Barratt D, Coller J: Pharmacogenetics of Opioids. Clin Pharmacol Ther 2007;81:429-444
2. Oroszi G, Anton R, O'Malley S, et al: OPRM1 Asn40Asp predicts response to naltrexone treatment: a haplotype-based approach. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2009;33:383-393
3. Anton R, Oroszi G, O'Malley, et al: An evaluation of mu-opioid receptor (OPRM1) as a predictor of naltrexone response in the treatment of alcohol dependence. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2008;65:135-144
4. Oslin D, Berrettini W, Kranzler H, et al: A functional polymorphism of the mu-opioid receptor gene is associated with naltrexone response in alcohol-dependent patients. Neuropsychopharmacology 2003;28:1546-1552