DAT1 methylation changes in alcohol-dependent individuals vs. controls

J Psychiatr Res. 2015 May;64:130-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.03.007. Epub 2015 Mar 21.


Introduction: The dopaminergic system plays a crucial role in the development of alcohol dependence. Regulation of the extracellular dopamine concentration is driven by dopamine transporter. Both, the expression and function of dopamine transporter, are influenced by chronic alcohol intake. Dopamine transporter (DAT) gene is also supposed to be differentially methylated in alcohol-dependent patients than in controls.

Material and methods: DNA was extracted from peripheral blood leukocytes. We analyzed the methylation status in 23 CpG islands of DAT gene promoter in alcohol dependent subjects (n = 171) and control (n = 160) group.

Results: No statistical differences in the general frequency of DAT CpG islands was revealed between patients (altogether 175 methylated islands) and control subjects (170 methylated islands (p = 0.86). However it was revealed that one of analyzed positions is significantly more often methylated in control subjects than in alcohol dependent individuals (p = 0.0296).

Conclusion: Further subsequent studies are necessary to determine whether the methylation change of one (out of 23) CpG site results in DAT expression changes.

Keywords: Alcohol dependence; DAT; Dopamine transporter; Methylation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcoholism / genetics*
  • CpG Islands / genetics
  • DNA Methylation / genetics*
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult


  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • SLC6A3 protein, human