Association of TAS2R38 Haplotypes and Menthol Cigarette Preference in an African American Cohort

<span class=”paragraphSection”>In a recent publication in <span style=”font-style:italic;”>Nicotine & Tobacco Research</span>, Oncken <span style=”font-style:italic;”>et al.</span><sup><a href=”#CIT0001″ class=”reflinks”>1</a></sup> examined 323 pregnant female Caucasian cigarette smokers, including menthol and nonmenthol users, and genotyped three <span style=”font-style:italic;”>TAS2R38</span> bitter taste receptor gene polymorphisms (<span style=”font-style:italic;”>rs713598</span>, <span style=”font-style:italic;”>rs1726866</span>, and <span style=”font-style:italic;”>rs10246939</span>). These polymorphisms specify whether an individual is a taster (associated with the PAV haplotype) or a nontaster (associated with the AVI haplotype) for a variety of bitter compounds, including the well-known phenylthiocarbamide and propylthiouracil.<sup><a href=”#CIT0002″ class=”reflinks”>2–3</a></sup> The rationale behind this study was to test whether variations in the well-studied <span style=”font-style:italic;”>TAS2R38</span> bitter taste receptor gene could contribute to the preference of smokers for menthol cigarettes, because menthol could mask the bitter taste of nicotine or other components of cigarette smoke. Oncken <span style=”font-style:italic;”>et al.</span> reported the frequency of the PAV taster haplotype to be greater in menthol smokers than in nonmenthol smokers in both non-Hispanic (54% vs. 30%, respectively, <span style=”font-style:italic;”>p</span> < 0.001) and Hispanic (53% vs. 25%, respectively, <span style=”font-style:italic;”>p</span> = 0.016) women, confirming this initial hypothesis.</span>

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