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Current Pharmaceutical Design


ISSN (Print): 1381-6128
ISSN (Online): 1873-4286

The Genetics of Problem and Pathological Gambling: A Systematic Review

Author(s): Agoston Gyollai, Mark D. Griffiths, Csaba Barta, Andrea Vereczkei, Robert Urban, Bernadette Kun, Gyongyi Kokonyei, Anna Szekely, Maria Sasvari-Szekely, Kenneth Blum and Zsolt Demetrovics

Volume 20, Issue 25, 2014

Page: [3993 - 3999] Pages: 7

DOI: 10.2174/13816128113199990626

Price: $65


Background and aims: The primary aim of the present review was to summarize the findings of genetic studies conducted on problem and pathological gambling. Method: Literature searches were conducted using PubMed, Medline and the HuGE Navigator databases using the keywords ‘gambling’ and ‘genetic*’. Results: The literature searches identified 21 empirical studies that had analyzed data from eight independent samples. Empirical research utilizing twin data accounted for eight of the studies, while gene association data were presented in 13 studies (including one genome wide-association study [GWAS] study). Twin studies emphasized the significant role of genetic and individual environmental factors in problem and pathological gambling. Gene association studies primarily reported the involvement of the dopaminergic and serotonergic systems. Discussion: Despite the relatively low number of genetic studies, the data clearly indicated the genetic vulnerability of problem and pathological gambling. Studies to date have mainly investigated and verified the role of factors reported to be important in other types of addiction, and it is suggested that pathological gambling should be included as a subtype of ‘Reward Deficiency Syndrome’ (RDS). It is concluded that future research should attempt to identify possible gambling specific susceptibility factors.

Keywords: Problem/pathological gambling, gambling addiction, behavioral addiction, systematic review, twin studies, genetic association studies, reward deficiency syndrome.

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