17 Jul A pilot examination of the genome-wide DNA methylation signatures of subjects entering and exiting short-term alcohol dependence treatment programs
Philibert RA, Penaluna B, White T, Shires S, Gunter T, Liesveld J, Erwin C, Hollenbeck N, Osborn T. 2014. A pilot examination of the genome-wide DNA methylation signatures of subjects entering and exiting short-term alcohol dependence treatment programs. Epigenetics 9:9:1212-1219. PMID:25147915.
Alcoholism has a profound impact on millions of people throughout the world. However, the ability to determine if a patient needs treatment is hindered by reliance on self-reporting and the clinician’s capability to monitor the patient’s response to treatment is challenged by the lack of reliable biomarkers. Using a genome-wide approach, we have previously shown that chronic alcohol use is associated with methylation changes in DNA from human cell lines. In this pilot study, we now examine DNA methylation in peripheral mononuclear cell DNA gathered from subjects as they enter and leave short-term alcohol treatment. When compared with abstinent controls, subjects with heavy alcohol use show widespread changes in DNA methylation that have a tendency to reverse with abstinence. Pathway analysis demonstrates that these changes map to gene networks involved in apoptosis. There is no significant overlap of the alcohol signature with the methylation signature previously derived for smoking. We conclude that DNA methylation may have future clinical utility in assessing acute alcohol use status and monitoring treatment response.