The FKBP5 gene affects alcohol drinking in knockout mice and is implicated in alcohol drinking in humans

Bin Qiu, Susan E. Luczak, Tamara L. Wall, Aaron M. Kirchhoff, Yuxue Xu, Mimy Y. Eng, Robert B. Stewart, Weinian Shou, Stephen L. Boehm, Julia A. Chester, Weidong Yong, Tiebing Liang

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11 Scopus citations


FKBP5 encodes FK506-binding protein 5, a glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-binding protein implicated in various psychiatric disorders and alcohol withdrawal severity. The purpose of this study is to characterize alcohol preference and related phenotypes in Fkbp5 knockout (KO) mice and to examine the role of FKBP5 in human alcohol consumption. The following experiments were performed to characterize Fkpb5 KO mice. (1) Fkbp5 KO and wild-type (WT) EtOH consumption was tested using a two-bottle choice paradigm; (2) The EtOH elimination rate was measured after intraperitoneal (IP) injection of 2.0 g/kg EtOH; (3) Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was measured after 3 h limited access of alcohol; (4) Brain region expression of Fkbp5 was identified using LacZ staining; (5) Baseline corticosterone (CORT) was assessed. Additionally, two SNPs, rs1360780 (C/T) and rs3800373 (T/G), were selected to study the association of FKBP5 with alcohol consumption in humans. Participants were college students (n = 1162) from 21-26 years of age with Chinese, Korean or Caucasian ethnicity. The results, compared to WT mice, for KO mice exhibited an increase in alcohol consumption that was not due to differences in taste sensitivity or alcohol metabolism. Higher BAC was found in KO mice after 3 h of EtOH access. Fkbp5 was highly expressed in brain regions involved in the regulation of the stress response, such as the hippocampus, amygdala, dorsal raphe and locus coeruleus. Both genotypes exhibited similar basal levels of plasma corticosterone (CORT). Finally, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in FKBP5 were found to be associated with alcohol drinking in humans. These results suggest that the association between FKBP5 and alcohol consumption is conserved in both mice and humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1271
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 5 2016


  • Alcohol drinking behavior
  • Fkbp5 knockout
  • Human alcohol use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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    Qiu, B., Luczak, S. E., Wall, T. L., Kirchhoff, A. M., Xu, Y., Eng, M. Y., Stewart, R. B., Shou, W., Boehm, S. L., Chester, J. A., Yong, W., & Liang, T. (2016). The FKBP5 gene affects alcohol drinking in knockout mice and is implicated in alcohol drinking in humans. International journal of molecular sciences, 17(8), [1271].