Changes in the Methylation Status of DAT, SERT, and MeCP2 Gene Promoters in the Blood Cell in Families Exposed to Alcohol During the Periconceptional Period

Bom Yi Lee, So Yeon Park, Hyun Mee Ryu, Chan Young Shin, Ki Nam Ko, Jung Yeol Han, Gideon Koren, Youl Hee Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Alcohol exposure has been shown to cause devastating effects on neurobehavioral development in numerous animal and human studies. The alteration of DNA methylation levels in gene-specific promoter regions has been investigated in some studies of human alcoholics. This study was aimed to investigate whether social alcohol consumption during periconceptional period is associated with epigenetic alteration and its generational transmission in the blood cells. Methods: We investigated patterns of alcohol intake in a prospective cohort of 355 pairs of pregnant women and their spouses who reported alcohol intake during the periconceptional period. A subpopulation of 164 families was established for the epigenetic study based on the availability of peripheral blood and cord blood DNA. The relative methylation changes of dopamine transporter (DAT), serotonin transporter (SERT), and methyl CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2) gene promoters were analyzed using methylation-specific endonuclease digestion followed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Results: The relative methylation level of the DAT gene promoter was decreased in the group of mothers reporting above moderate drinking (p = 0.029) and binge drinking (p = 0.037) during pregnancy. The relative methylation level of the DAT promoter was decreased in the group of fathers reporting heavy binge drinking (p = 0.003). The relative methylation levels of the SERT gene promoter were decreased in the group of newborns of light drinking mothers before pregnancy (p = 0.012) and during pregnancy (p = 0.003). The methylation level in the MeCP2 promoter region of babies whose mothers reported above moderate drinking during pregnancy was increased (p = 0.02). In addition, methylation pattern in the DAT promoter region of babies whose fathers reported heavy binge drinking was decreased (p = 0.049). Conclusions: These findings suggest that periconceptional alcohol intake may cause epigenetic changes in specific locus of parental and newborn genomes as follows: Alcohol consumption decreases the methylation level of the DAT promoter region of the parent themselves, maternal alcohol drinking during the periconceptional period decreases the methylation level of the SERT promoter region of newborns, and maternal alcohol consumption increases the methylation level of the MeCP2 promoter region of newborns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-250
Number of pages12
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Dopamine Transporter
  • Gene Promoter Methylation
  • Methyl CpG Binding Protein 2
  • Serotonin Transporter

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