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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2015 Dec 3;63:30-4. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2015.05.013. Epub 2015 May 28.

Alterations in DNA-methylation of the dopamine-receptor 2 gene are associated with abstinence and health care utilization in individuals with a lifetime history of pathologic gambling.

Author information

1
Center for Addiction Research (CARe), Department of Psychiatry, Socialpsychiatry and Psychotherapy, Hannover Medical School, Germany. Electronic address: hillemacher.thomas@mh-hannover.de.
2
Molecular Neurosciences Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, Socialpsychiatry and Psychotherapy, Hannover Medical School, Germany.
3
Center for Addiction Research (CARe), Department of Psychiatry, Socialpsychiatry and Psychotherapy, Hannover Medical School, Germany.
4
Institute of Social Medicine and Prevention, University Medicine Greifswald, Germany.
5
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Lübeck, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Several studies point towards a role for dopaminergic circuits in the pathophysiology of problematic gambling behavior. The aim of the present study was to investigate alterations of DNA methylation in the dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2)-gene in participants with pathologic gambling behavior.

RESULTS:

The study was part of a large epidemiological study on pathologic gambling in Germany. DNA methylation of the DRD2-gene was analyzed from oral mucosa using next generation bisulfite sequencing. The final sample included 77 participants. The study showed significantly lower methylation levels of the DRD2-gene in abstinent patients over the last 12 or 30months compared to non-abstinent participants. Furthermore, participants without any treatment utilization regarding gambling behavior showed higher DRD2-gene methylation levels compared to treatment-seeking participants.

CONCLUSIONS:

DNA-methylation patterns in the DRD2-gene were altered in respect to abstinence over a 12-month or a 30-month period and to treatment utilization with higher methylation levels in non-abstinent and participants without treatment-seeking behavior. These results point towards a pathophysiologic relevance of altered DRD2-expression due to changes of DNA methylation in pathologic gambling behavior.

KEYWORDS:

DNA-methylation; DRD2; Dopamine; Epigenetics; Pathologic gambling

PMID:
26028496
DOI:
10.1016/j.pnpbp.2015.05.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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