The human fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) missense mutation c.385 C-->A, which results in conversion of a conserved proline residue to threonine (P129T), has been associated with street drug use and problem drug abuse. Although a link between the FAAH P129T variant and human drug abuse has been reported, the extent of risk and specific types of substance addiction vulnerability remain to be determined. Here, we investigated the relationship of the FAAH P129T variant to a number of linked single nucleotide polymorphisms to establish a haplotyping system, calculate the estimated age and origin of the FAAH 385 C-->A mutation and evaluate its association with clinically significant drug addiction in a case control study. The results showed a significant over-representation of the FAAH P129T homozygotes in 249 subjects with documented multiple different drug addictions compared to drug free individuals of the same ethnic backgrounds (P = 0.05) using logistic regression analysis controlling for ethnicity. To increase the logistic regression analysis power by increasing the sample size, the data from our previous study (Sipe et al. in Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 99:8394-8399, 2002) were pooled with the present cohort which increased the significance to P = 0.00003. Investigation of the FAAH chromosomal backgrounds of the P129T variant in both multiple different drug addicted and control subjects revealed a common ancestral haplotype, marked population differences in haplotype genetic diversity and an estimated P129T mutation age of 114,425-177,525 years. Collectively, these results show that the P129T mutation is the only common mutation in the FAAH gene and is significantly associated with addictive traits. Moreover, this mutation appears to have arisen early in human evolution and this study validates the previous link between the FAAH P129T variant and vulnerability to addiction of multiple different drugs.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Intramural Research (Z01)
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National Institute on Drug Abuse
United States
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