Association between smoking behaviour and genetic variants of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor

Eszter Kotyuk, Nora Nemeth, Zsolt Ronai, Zsolt Demetrovics, Maria Sasvari-Szekely, Anna Szekely

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) promotes development and differentiation of dopaminergic neurons, thus it has an important role in dopamine-related neuropsychiatric disorders. Since the role of dopamine system in smoking is well established, we hypothesized that GDNF gene variants may affect smoking behaviour. Self-reported data on smoking behaviour (never smoked, quit, occasional, or regular smokers) and level of nicotine addiction (Hooked on Nicotine Checklist and Fagerstrom Nicotine Addiction Scale), anxiety, as well as buccal samples were obtained from 930 Hungarian young adults (18–35 years). Genetic analysis involved eight GDNF single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) (rs1981844, rs3812047, rs3096140, rs2973041, rs2910702, rs1549250, rs2973050 and rs11111). Allele-wise association analyses of the eight GDNF SNPs provided a significant association between smoking behaviour and rs3096140 (P = 0.0039). The minor allele (C) was more frequent in those groups who smoked in some form (quit, occasional or regular smokers) as compared to those who never smoked (P = 0.0046). This result remained significant after Bonferroni correction for multiple testing. In the ever smoking group, no significant differences were found in the level of nicotine addiction by the alleles of these polymorphisms. Also, no significant interaction of rs3096140 and smoking categories were observed on anxiety mean scores. Although previous data demonstrated an association between GDNF rs2910704 and severity of methamphetamine use to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study on the role of GDNF genetic variations in smoking behaviour. Our results suggest that GDNF rs3096140 might be involved in the genetic background of smoking, independent of anxiety characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-818
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Genetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016



  • GDNF gene
  • glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor
  • nicotine addiction
  • rs3096140
  • smoking behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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