Preliminary data on the association among the serotonin transporter polymorphism, subjective alcohol experiences, and drinking behavior

William R. Corbin, Kim Fromme, Susan E. Bergeson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Objective: Individual differences in subjective responses to alcohol are believed to have a genetic basis and have been associated with increased risk of alcohol-related problems. There are, however, conflicting results from past studies, perhaps owing to differences in subjective alcohol effects by limb of the blood alcohol curve and the passage of time. The current pilot study evaluated relations among serotonin transporter (SERT) genotype, subjective alcohol responses, and drinking behavior across both the ascending and descending limbs of the blood alcohol curve. Method: Participants (N = 222; 68% male) were administered alcohol (target blood alcohol concentration of .06%) with a subsample (n = 86) providing genetic data. Following a social stressor, participants were provided the opportunity to engage in ad libitum alcohol consumption. Results: SERT transporter was not significantly associated with ad lib drinking or subjective alcohol effects at individual time points, although a trend toward a SERT by blood alcohol concentration limb interaction was observed for ad lib drinking. In addition, SERT genotype predicted acute tolerance to alcohol effects, with participants homozygous for the long SERT allele developing acute tolerance more rapidly than other genotypes. Conclusions: Although SERT genotype was not reliably associated with ad lib drinking behavior, the results suggest that individuals with the long-long (LL) genotype may develop acute tolerance to alcohol effects more rapidly than heterozygotes or individuals homozygous for the short SERT allele.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-13
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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