Working… Menu

Stem Cell Study of Genetics and Drug Addiction

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT01534624
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : February 16, 2012
Last Update Posted : December 17, 2019
Information provided by:
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)

Brief Summary:


- Researchers are interested in studying the roles that genes play in drug and alcohol addiction. Genes seem to account for about half of the differences between people who become addicted to drugs and people who do not. This study will collect blood and skin cell samples. These cells will be used to develop stem cells that are useful for studying how genes are related to drug use and dependence.


- To study genetic and cellular differences between people who are addicted to drugs and those who are not.


  • Individuals between 21 and 65 years of age who do not use drugs.
  • Individuals between 21 and 65 years of age who are in treatment with buprenorphine or methadone.


  • Participants will be screened with a brief physical exam and medical history.
  • Participants will also answer questions about physical and mental health, quality of life, and history of drug and alcohol use. A urine sample and cheek swab sample will be collected.
  • Participants whose genetic samples match the study requirements will be asked to come back to provide a skin biopsy sample and a second urine sample.

Condition or disease
Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Detailed Description:

Background - The molecular- and cellular-based mechanisms that contribute to the initiation and development of addiction remain to be elucidated. Estimates have suggested that 40-60 percent of the vulnerability to addiction may be attributable to genetic aberrations. Multiple chromosomal regions have been linked to addiction including those containing the dopamine transporter (DAT) and vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT2) genes. Current efforts to understand how polymorphisms in these monoamine transporters contribute to the molecular mechanisms of addiction are severely hindered by the inability to directly interrogate neural cell types from the patients. There is great potential for patient-specific iPS cell technology to profoundly impact our understanding of human development and disease by providing genetically distinct, functional sources of human cells.

Objective - The objective of the research is to develop a cell-based system whereby neural cells from afflicted individuals can be functionally assayed to interrogate the molecular mechanisms underlying addiction.

Study population Controls (non-drug users) and opioid dependent adults receiving opioid agonist therapy aged 21- 65 will be enrolled.

Design Participants demographic characteristics, psychosocial evaluation, and psychiatric, medical, and drug use histories will be characterized. DNA will be collected via cheek swabs of up to 30 potential participants for determination of dopamine transporter (DAT) and vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT2) gene polymorphisms. Participants (N=16) with suitable polymorphisms will be asked to under go skin biopsies; 2 individuals for each of two genotypes for each gene (DAT or VMAT), i.e., 8 samples from addicts and 8 samples for control subjects. Collaborators at Case Western Reserve University will use the skin cells to derive and characterize patient-specific, induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells that carry monoamine transporter polymorphisms for the hDAT1 and hVMAT2 genes. They will differentiate patient-specific iPS cells line into dopaminergic neurons and carry out a detailed and functional characterization of these cells to identify their molecular characteristics.

Outcome measures - Biological specimens from the addiction patients and controls will be used to derive and characterize patient-specific, induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells that carry monoamine transporter polymorphisms. Patient-specific iPS cells lines will be differentiated into dopaminergic neurons. In follow up studies, we will characterize, compare, and functionally assay these patient-specific, iPS cell-derived dopaminergic neurons from control and addiction patients that carry polymorphisms for hDAT1 and hVMAT2 gene to investigate any possible association with dopamine neurotransmission variations and vulnerability to addiction.

Layout table for study information
Study Type : Observational
Actual Enrollment : 49 participants
Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: Development of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Carrying Monoamine Transporter Polymorphisms
Study Start Date : February 7, 2012
Study Completion Date : July 30, 2014

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Derive and characterize patient-specific, induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells that carry monoamine transporter polymorphisms and differentiate them into dopaminergic neurons.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

Layout table for eligibility information
Ages Eligible for Study:   21 Years to 65 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

    1. 21 to 65 years old

      Opioid dependent participant group only:

    2. enrollment in a substance abuse treatment protocol in Archway.

      Non-drug users

    3. no lifetime history of drug dependence as indicated by the screening ASI and Substance Abuse/Dependence Evaluation counselor interview.


  1. Relevant neurological disorders (including, but not limited to, Parkinson s disease and Huntington s disease).
  2. contraindications to skin biopsy including, but not limited to, bleeding disorders, skin disorders, and immune disorders, that the MAI determines may alter the risk of the biopsy.
  3. cognitive impairment severe enough to preclude informed consent or valid responses on questionnaires.
  4. controls will also be excluded if they test positive for drugs or alcohol during screening or study visits.
  5. unwillingness to allow samples to be kept for future research.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT01534624

Layout table for location information
United States, Maryland
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Baltimore, Maryland, United States, 21224
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Layout table for investigator information
Principal Investigator: Kenzie Preston, Ph.D. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Layout table for additonal information Identifier: NCT01534624    
Other Study ID Numbers: 999912476
First Posted: February 16, 2012    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: December 17, 2019
Last Verified: July 30, 2014
Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPS) Cell Lines
Addiction-Associated Human Gene Variants
Dopamine Transporter