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The Genetic Architecture of Smoking and Smoking Cessation

This study includes samples from two projects: Collaborative Genetic Study of Nicotine Dependence (COGEND; PI: Laura Bierut) and University of Wisconsin Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (UW-TTURC; PI: Timothy Baker).

Data are available for an additional 1420 COGEND subjects through the Study of Addiction: Genetics and Environment (SAGE), dbGaP study accession phs000092. The majority of these subjects are independent from the current study, but there is a small amount of overlap between the two samples (n=29 subjects) for quality control purposes. It should be noted that the case definition in the SAGE study is DSM-IV alcohol dependence. The case definition in the current study is nicotine dependence by a current score of 4 or greater on the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND).

The overall goal of this project is to identify and characterize genetic variants that contribute to the development of nicotine dependence, related smoking behaviors, and smoking cessation. The COGEND sample includes unrelated cases and controls for a genetic association study of nicotine dependence. Cases are defined by a commonly used definition of nicotine dependence, a current score of 4 or more (maximum score of 10) on the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND). Control status is defined as an individual who smoked at least 100 cigarettes during their lifetime, yet never became dependent (lifetime FTND=0). By selecting controls who smoked, those genetic effects that are specific to nicotine dependence can be examined.

The UW-TTURC sample includes nicotine dependent smokers from three smoking cessation studies. Subjects had to smoke at least 10 cigarettes per day (confirmed smoking by an alveolar carbon monoxide (CO) level greater than 9) and report being motivated to quit smoking. Participants were excluded based on evidence of psychosis history, clinically significant depression symptoms, other severe mental illness, or contraindications to smoking cessation medications.

COGEND: COGEND was initiated in 2001 as a three-part program project grant funded through the National Cancer Institute (NCI; PI: Laura Bierut). The three projects included a study of the familial transmission of nicotine dependence, a genetic study of nicotine dependence, and a study of the relationship of nicotine dependence with nicotine metabolism. The primary goal is to detect, localize, and characterize genes that predispose or protect an individual with respect to heavy tobacco consumption, nicotine dependence, and related phenotypes and to integrate these findings with the family transmission and nicotine metabolism findings. The primary design is a community based case-control family study. Nicotine dependent cases and non-dependent, smoking controls were identified and recruited from Detroit and St. Louis. In addition, one sibling for each case and control subject was recruited in a subset of the sample. More than 54,000 subjects aged 25-44 years were screened by telephone; more than 3,100 subjects were personally interviewed; and more than 2,900 subjects donated blood samples for genetic studies.

UW-TTURC: The UW-TTURC was initiated in 2001 as a study of nicotine dependence and smoking cessation treatment. The second round of UW-TTURC was initiated in 2005 as a study of efficacy of smoking cessation and long term outcomes. Nicotine dependent smokers seeking cessation treatment were identified and recruited from Madison and Milwaukee, WI. Over 9,000 adult smokers were screened by telephone; 2,575 individuals were enrolled and randomized to treatment conditions that involved use of different smoking cessation medications. Participants from the UW-TTURC smoking cessation clinical trials had the option of participating in a genetic substudy, and approximately 2,000 donated blood samples for genetic studies. The goal of the genetic studies of smokers seeking cessation treatment is to detect, localize, and characterize genes that predispose or protect an individual with respect to heavy tobacco consumption, nicotine dependence, and related phenotypes including cessation, withdrawal, and relapse.

Both studies (COGEND and UW-TTURC) include measures of basic socio-demographic variables, including age, sex, race/ethnicity, family income, and educational attainment. Information on nicotine dependence, as assessed by the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND) is available for all subjects. In addition, participants also completed the Nicotine Dependence Syndrome Scale (NDSS; Shiffman et al., 2004) and the Wisconsin Inventory of Smoking Dependence Motives (WISDM-68; Piper et al, 2004). Coding for both individual variables and indices has been standardized across studies. All subjects were assessed in person by trained research assistants.

This study is part of the Gene Environment Association Studies initiative (GENEVA, funded by the trans-NIH Genes, Environment, and Health Initiative (GEI). The overarching goal is to identify novel genetic factors that contribute to the genetic architecture of smoking through large-scale genome-wide association studies of two well-characterized cohorts. Genotyping was performed at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Inherited Disease Research (CIDR). Data cleaning and harmonization were done at the GEI-funded GENEVA Coordinating Center at the University of Washington.