Identifying and characterizing subpopulations of heavy alcohol drinkers via a sucrose preference test: A sweet road to a better phenotypic characterization?
Date of Original Version
Aims: Sweet preference in individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) has been associated with family history of AUD and personality traits. Therefore, testing sweet preference may help identify subpopulations of AUD individuals. Short summary: Sweet preference has been associated with family history of AUD and personality traits. We compared heavy drinkers based on their sweet liker status and using two cutoffs. Our findings support the role of sweet preference in heavy drinkers and point to the importance of how sweet likers are defined. Methods: This study aimed at describing and comparing heavy drinkers based on their sweet liker status, through demographic, neuroendocrine, inflammatory, behavioral and drinking characteristics. Participants rated the pleasantness and intensity of sucrose solutions (0.05, 0.10, 0.21, 0.42 and 0.83 M). Two cutoffs were used to identify likers versus dislikers: Grouping A likers preferred 0.83M and Grouping B likers preferred 0.83 or 0.42 M; the rest were dislikers. Results: Sweet likers were 36% (n = 20) using Grouping A and 58.2% (n = 32) using Grouping B. Grouping B, but not Grouping A, sweet likers had higher BMI (P = 0.01). In Grouping B, sweet likers had higher plasma leptin and insulin concentrations and higher insulin resistance (P's < 0.05). C-reactive protein concentrations were higher in sweet likers in Grouping A (P = 0.0015) and at a trend level in Grouping B (P = 0.07). Grouping A sweet likers had higher alcohol craving (P = 0.0004). Sweet likers preferred spirits compared to nonspirits (wine and beer) across both grouping (P's < 0.05). Conclusions: These results provide further support for the role of sweet liking phenotype in identifying subpopulations of AUD individuals. These findings also point to the importance of how sweet likers are defined, therefore highlighting the need for further research.
Publication Title, e.g., Journal
Alcohol and Alcoholism
Bouhlal, Sofia, Mehdi Farokhnia, Mary R. Lee, Fatemeh Akhlaghi, and Lorenzo Leggio. "Identifying and characterizing subpopulations of heavy alcohol drinkers via a sucrose preference test: A sweet road to a better phenotypic characterization?." Alcohol and Alcoholism 53, 5 (2018). doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agy048.