Genetics of Opioid Dependence: A Review of the Genetic Contribution to Opioid Dependence
Chetna J. Mistry, Monica Bawor, Dipika Desai, David C. Marsh and Zainab Samaan
Affiliation: McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.
Keywords: Dependence, genes, opioid, opioid addiction, opioid receptors, SNP.
This narrative review aims to provide an overview of the impact of opioid dependence and the contribution of
genetics to opioid dependence. Epidemiological data demonstrate that opioid dependence is a global trend with farreaching
effects on the social, economic, and health care systems. A review of classical genetic studies of opioid use
suggests significant heritability of drug use behavior, however the evidence from molecular genetic studies is
inconclusive. Nonetheless, certain genetic variants are important to consider given their role in the pathophysiology of
addictive behavior. We undertook a literature review to identify the current state of knowledge regarding the role of genes
in opioid dependence. Determining the association of genetic markers could change the current understanding of the
various factors contributing to opioid dependence and therefore may improve recognition of individuals at risk for the
disorder and prevention and treatment strategies.
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