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GABRA2 encodes the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor subunit alpha-2. GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian brain where it acts at GABA-A receptors, which are ligand-gated chloride channels. Chloride conductance of these channels can be modulated by agents such as benzodiazepines (BZDs) that bind to the GABA-A receptor, where stimulation of the inhibitory GABAergic activity results in sedation, amnesia, and ataxia.

The TT- genotype is associated with alcohol addiction and other substance dependence, where the variation on the gene may be attributed to its comorbidity with other externalising (impulsivity) or internalising (anxiety) disorders. The low risk A allele is also associated with better treatment response to alcoholism.

It is important to address the underlying behaviours associated with the variant. Environmental and nutritional interventions to improve GABA production should also be addressed.