Altered levels of basal cortisol in healthy subjects with a 118G allele in exon 1 of the Mu opioid receptor gene.

The Laboratory of the Biology of Addictive Diseases, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021, USA.
Neuropsychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 7.83). 11/2006; 31(10):2313-7.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The mu opioid receptor is centrally involved in the development of the addictive diseases. It also modulates the stress responsive hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Receptors encoded by the variant 118G polymorphism in exon 1 of the mu opioid receptor gene have a threefold increase in beta-endorphin binding and beta-endorphin is three times more potent in receptor-mediated activation of G protein-coupled inwardly rectifying potassium channels. Humans with this variant have increased stress response following opioid antagonism. Here, we study basal levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone and cortisol in subjects with this variant. In all, 59 healthy adults were genotyped and had morning levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone and cortisol measured following intravenous administration of saline placebo. Subjects with a 118G allele had significantly greater levels of cortisol than subjects with the prototype gene. Groups did not differ in levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone. A planned comparison revealed significantly greater cortisol in females with at least one copy of the 118G allele compared to females with the prototype gene. There was no significant effect of gender alone, nor was there a significant interaction between gender and genotype, on ACTH or cortisol. Subjects with at least one copy of the 118G allele have increased basal levels of cortisol, which may influence the susceptibility to and treatment of the stress responsive dyscrasia.

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