Genetic Risk Markers for Smoking Progression

Also known as

Project 4 of Social-Emotional Contexts of Adolescent and Young Adult Smoking Patterns (2)


This project tests genetic risk markers for smoking trajectory from adolescence through young adulthood in a cohort collected during the initial program project. We are concentrating on genetic risk markers in neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) but are also considering a limited number of other candidate genes for which there is strong empirical support. We reported previously that CHRNA5-A3-B4 haplotype association with adult nicotine dependence in whites was more robust in smokers who began daily smoking prior to age 17. This strongly suggests a heightened sensitivity to these risk markers in adolescents. This project uses a unique, prospectively studied adolescent cohort with a rich set of longitudinal phenotypes characterizing smoking progression. We are testing possible additive and interactive effects of genetic risk markers and other variables known to be associated with smoking trajectory (e.g., gender, race, substance use, depression, peer influence and parental smoking). Also, we are examining hypotheses regarding the mediation of genetic associations with smoking trajectory by short-term affect regulation and alleviation of nicotine withdrawal by cigarette smoking. Further, we are determining the genetic architecture of nAChR genes within the racial/ethnic groups represented in the study cohort so haplotypespecific genetic risk markers can be tested across races.

Affiliated Center/Program

This research is part of a larger program project:

Social-Emotional Contexts of Adolescent and Young Adult Smoking Patterns
Funding Agency

National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (Grant No. 2P01CA098262-06A1)

Start date
End date
About this grant

This is a project within a program project, Social-Emotional Contexts of Adolescent and Young Adult Smoking Patterns (2), whose principal investigator is Professor Robin Mermelstein.

Related publications

Passarotti AM, Crane NA, Hedeker D, Mermelstein RJ. Longitudinal trajectories of marijuana use from adolescence to young adulthood. Addict Behav. 2015 Feb 18;45:301-308. [See abstract.]

Coon H, Piasecki TM, Cook EH, Dunn D, Mermelstein RJ, Weiss RB, Cannon DS. Association of the CHRNA4 neuronal nicotinic receptor subunit gene with frequency of binge drinking in young adults. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2014 Apr;38(4):930-7. [See abstract.]

Cannon DS, Mermelstein RJ, Hedeker D, Coon H, Cook EH, McMahon WM, Hamil C, Dunn D, Weiss RB. Effect of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor genes (CHRN) on longitudinal cigarettes per day in adolescents and young adults. Nicotine Tob Res. 2014 Feb;16(2):137-44. [See abstract.]