BEIJING, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Researchers have disclosed a genetic factor influencing people's alcohol dependence, according to a study recently published in the journal of Molecular Psychiatry.
Researchers from the School of Basic Medical Sciences of Fudan University worked with Swedish scientists to study the methylation level of human brain tissue samples.
Gene expression changes may lead to alcohol misuse and dependence. Through DNA methylation analysis from human brain tissues, the researchers identified a differentially methylated region, DMR-DLGAP2, associated with alcohol dependence.
The alcohol-dependent patients had lower methylation levels of the DLGAP2. The results suggest that DLGAP2 may be an interface for genetic and epigenetic factors controlling alcohol use and dependence.
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic recurrent brain disease, with primary symptoms of compulsive drinking and addiction, said the paper. Alcohol dependence is a type of AUD.
The research is expected to reveal the mechanism of alcohol addiction and support the accurate diagnosis and treatment, said Liu Yun, a researcher at the School of Basic Medical Sciences.
The gene DLGAP2, mainly found in the nervous system, is also related to autism and Alzheimer's disease.