The Role of DNA Methylation in Drug Addiction: Implications for Diagnostic and Therapeutics

Elad Lax, Moshe Szyf

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Drug addiction is a devastating health problem that is a very heavy burden on the individual affected and the society in general. Recent research defines addiction as a neurobehavioral disorder. Underpinning biological mechanisms of drug addiction are abnormal neuronal and brain activity following acute and repeated drug exposure. Abnormal gene expression is found in reward and decision-making brain regions of addicts and in animal models and is possibly responsible for changes in brain function. DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that regulates gene expression. Global and site-specific changes in DNA methylation are observed in addiction. Here, we discuss recent findings on the involvement of DNA methylation in drug addiction from animal and human studies. We also propose future directions for utilizing DNA methylation-based approaches for diagnosis, therapeutics, and evaluation of response to therapy in drug addiction.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProgress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameProgress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science
ISSN (Print)1877-1173
ISSN (Electronic)1878-0814


  • DNA methylation
  • drug addiction
  • drug exposure
  • gene expression
  • neuropsychiatric disorder


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