This research identified specific genetic variations in the KCNJ6 gene linked to changes in brain activity measured through electroencephalogram (EEG) frontal theta event-related oscillations (θ-EROs) during cognitive tasks. These variations are associated with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and are considered to be a sign of susceptibility to AUD. The KCNJ6 gene encodes the GIRK2 protein, a key player in neuronal excitability regulation. The study aimed to understand how increased GIRK2 expression affects neuronal activity and its response to alcohol exposure. This was done by upregulating GIRK2 expression in human neurons derived from stem cells and studying their behavior. The findings suggest that increased GIRK2 expression can influence neuronal activity and responses to alcohol, thus increasing understanding of the connection between genetics, brain activity, and alcohol-related behaviors.
Prytkova IA, Liu Y, Fernando MB, Gameiro-Ros I, Popova D, Kamarajan C, Xuei X, Chorlian DB, Edenberg HJ, Tischfield JA, Porjesz B, Pang ZP, Hart RP, Goate AM, Slesinger PA (2023) Upregulated GIRK2 counteracts ethanol-induced changes in excitability and respiration in human neurons. bioRxiv, 2023.2003.2022.533236. PMID: 36993693; PMCID: PMC10055374; DOI: 10.1101/2023.03.22.533236.