Finnish researchers discovered a genetic mutation causing reckless and impulsive behaviour in carriers under the influence of alcohol. This behaviour is more extreme for what may be expected based on the alcohol use. According to the researchers, these behavioural changes are caused by a mutation in the serotonine 2B receptor gene. The results of their research is published in Translational Psychiatry.
There are persons whose behaviour becomes more unstable under the influence of alcohol than what may be expected based on their alcohol intake. The fact that these features seem to be permanent, allows the researchers to presume an underlying genetic cause. The authors, led by Roope Tikkanen, PhD, psychiatrist at the University of Helsinki, decided to research the influence of a mutation in the serotonine 2B receptor gene, discovered in 2010. This mutation occurs in 2.2 percent of the Finnish population, more than 100 thousand persons, and is associated with impulsivity and possibly psychiatric diseases and violent behaviour.
Tikkanen and colleagues researched the influence of alcohol consumption on the impulsive behaviour of Finns carrying this mutation. For this, they used data based on a cooperation between the Psychiatry Clinic of the University of Helsinki and the American National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The researchers concluded that a point mutation in the serotonine 2B gene can cause impulsive behaviour in carriers, especially when they are under the influence of alcohol.
Although the research has to be repeated in a larger group, the authors state that the results provide guidance for preventive measures in the target group, such as controlling alcohol consumption, cognitive behavioural therapy or medication. Also, the results help in clarifying the role of the serotonine 2B receptor and can lead to new pharmacological interventions.
Source: Translational Psychiatry, Nature.
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