The proenkephalin gene (PENK) and opioid dependence

David E. Comings, Hezekiah Blake, George Dietz, Radhika Gade-Andavolu, Richard Legro, Gerard Saucier, Patrick Johnson, Ray Verde, James P. MacMurray

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35 Scopus citations


WE tested the hypothesis that the alleles at the (CA)n repeat of the proenkephalin gene (PENK) might be associated with opioid addiction in 31 non-Hispanic Caucasian subjects with opioid dependence (heroin), 89 ethnically matched subjects with substance dependence other than opioid dependence and 132 controls. Among the subjects with opioid dependence, 66% carried the ≥ 81 bp allele compared with 40% of subjects with other types of substance abuse (χ2 = 11.31, p < 0.004) and 49% of controls (X2 = 6.0, p < 0.015). These results are consistent with a role of the PENK gene in opioid dependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1133-1135
Number of pages3
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 6 1999


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Comings, D. E., Blake, H., Dietz, G., Gade-Andavolu, R., Legro, R., Saucier, G., ... MacMurray, J. P. (1999). The proenkephalin gene (PENK) and opioid dependence. NeuroReport, 10(5), 1133-1135.