Background: Nicotine dependence is associated with an increased risk of mood and anxiety disorders and suicide. The primary hypothesis of this study was to identify whether the polymorphisms of two glutathione-S-transferase enzymes (GSTM1 and GSTT1 genes) predict an increased risk of mood and anxiety disorders in smokers with nicotine dependence.
Materials and methods: Smokers were recruited at the Centre of Treatment for Smokers. The instruments were a sociodemographic questionnaire, Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence, diagnoses of mood disorder and nicotine dependence according to DSM-IV (SCID-IV), and the Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test. Anxiety disorder was assessed based on the treatment report. Laboratory assessment included glutathione-S-transferases M1 (GSTM1) and T1 (GSTT1), which were detected by a multiplex-PCR protocol.
Results: Compared with individuals who had both GSTM1 and GSTT1 genes, a higher frequency of at least one deletion of the GSTM1 and GSTT1 genes was identified in anxious smokers [odds ratio (OR)=2.21, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.05–4.65, P=0.034], but there was no association with bipolar and unipolar depression (P=0.943). Compared with nonanxious smokers, anxious smokers had a greater risk for mood disorders (OR=4.67; 95% CI=2.24–9.92, P<0.001), lung disease (OR=6.78, 95% CI=1.95–23.58, P<0.003), and suicide attempts (OR=17.01, 95% CI=2.23–129.91, P<0.006).
Conclusion: This study suggests that at least one deletion of the GSTM1 and GSTT1 genes represents a risk factor for anxious smokers. These two genes may modify the capacity for the detoxification potential against oxidative stress.