Low digit ratio (2D:4D) and late pubertal onset indicate prenatal hyperandrogenziation in alcohol binge drinking

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Background:Alcohol binge drinking behavior is an important public health issue. Causal rodent and human associational studies show that reinforcement of prenatal androgen signaling increases alcohol consumption in adulthood. However, the effects of prenatal androgen exposure on adult binge drinking patterns have not been investigated yet.Method:We analyzed data from 2225 participants of an online survey (conducted 06–07/2016) to evaluate biomarkers for prenatal androgen exposure (second-to-fourth finger length ratio [2D:4D], age at spermarche or menarche as hallmark for pubertal onset) in binge drinking (≥1 episode of 15+, 10+, and/or 5+ standard drinks of ˜13 g of alcohol within 2 h during the 24 month- and 2 week-recall periods).Results:Men reported binge drinking more often than women (ORs > 1.4, P < .001). For the 24 month-recall period, binge drinkers showed lower 2D:4D (P = .006) and reported later pubertal onset (P = .022) than non-binge drinkers. These findings consistently suggest excess prenatal androgen exposure in adult binge drinkers. Moreover, 2D:4D was negatively associated with severity (15+/10+/5+/non-binge drinking, P = .005) and frequency of binge drinking episodes (P = .044). All of these effects were stronger in men than in women. For the 2 week-recall period, the biomarkers were not significantly related to binge drinking behavior.Conclusion:Our results indicate that increased prenatal androgen exposure is involved in the development of alcohol binge drinking behavior in adults.HighlightsThe second-to-fourth finger length ratio (2D:4D) was lower in alcohol binge drinkers than non-binge drinkers.2D:4D was negatively associated with the severity and frequency of binge drinking episodes.Alcohol binge drinkers reported later pubertal onset than non-binge drinkers.Both of the tested biomarkers suggest that reinforced prenatal androgen load influences alcohol binge drinking in adults.

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