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The mu-opioid receptor, encoded by the OPRM1 gene, is the primary receptor for the endogenous opioid peptide b-endorphin, but is also the site at which exogenous opioids including morphine and heroin bind (1,2). The most commonly studied SNP for this gene is rs1799971 (A/G variation), on the first exon of the OPRM1 gene, and represents an amino acid switch from asparagine (Asn) to aspartic acid (Asp). Functionally, this SNP has been shown to bind beta-endorphin three times more tightly when the G allele is expressed compared to the A allele. The G allele, even when present heterozygously, has been linked to increased alcohol cravings and influences the response to exogenous opioids, likely by affecting receptor expression and signaling efficiency (3,4,5). Interestingly, this same SNP has also been shown in G allele carriers to correlate with increased sensitivity in social contexts, and greater reactivity to social rejection (6,7,8).
In addition to rs1799971, several other SNPs within this gene have been shown to associate with dependence and depression related traits (9). For more research on the OPRM1 gene, visit SNPedia here.
When interpreting data from your current study or planning for the future, consider the polymorphisms that influence brain function. For a complete list of SNPs available for research, we recommend contacting one of our experts for guidance on the most relevant selections for your research.
Haerian BS, Haerian MS. (2013). OPRM1 rs1799971 polymorphism and opioid dependence: evidence from a meta-analysis. Pharmacogenomics. PMID: 23651028
Bond C, et al (1998). Single-nucleotide polymorphism in the human mu opioid receptor gene alters beta-endorphin binding and activity: possible implications for opiate addiction. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. PMID: 9689128
van den Wildenberg E, et al. (2007). A functional polymorphism of the mu-opioid receptor gene (OPRM1) influences cue-induced craving for alcohol in male heavy drinkers. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. PMID: 17207095
Ren ZY, et al. (2015). The impact of genetic variation on sensitivity to opioid analgesics in patients with postoperative pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Pain Physician. PMID: 25794200
Bart G, et al. (2005). Increased attributable risk related to a functional mu-opioid receptor gene polymorphism in association with alcohol dependence in central Sweden. Neuropsychopharmacology. PMID: 15525999
Way BM, et al. (2009). Variation in the mu-opioid receptor gene (OPRM1) is associated with dispositional and neural sensitivity to social rejection. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. PMID: 19706472
Slavich GM, et al. (2014). Endogenous opioid system influences depressive reactions to socially painful targeted rejection life events. Psychoneuroendocrinology. PMID: 25086307
Carver CS, et al. (2015). Mu opioid receptor polymorphism, early social adversity, and social traits. Soc Neurosci. PMID: 26527429
Bergen AW, et al. (1997). Mu opioid receptor gene variants: lack of association with alcohol dependence. Mol Psychiatry. PMID: 9399694
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