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Vanessa Nieratschker, Martin Grosshans, Josef Frank, Jana Strohmaier, Christoph von der Goltz, Osman El-Maarri, Stephanie H. Witt, Sven Cichon, Markus M. Nöthen, Falk Kiefer and Marcella Rietschel Epigenetic alteration of the dopamine transporter gene in alcohol-dependent patients is associated with age Addiction Biology 19

Article first published online: 16 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1369-1600.2012.00459.x

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Chronic alcohol dependence is associated with dysfunctional dopaminergic neurotransmission. A possible reason may be altered methylation of the dopamine transporter gene (DAT). Our study detected no differences in DAT methylation between alcohol dependent patients and population-based controls. However, patients with more severe craving showed a trend towards lower DAT methylation. Furthermore, DAT methylation levels increased with age, particularly in the patient group. This suggests that hypermethylation in alcohol dependent patients is a consequence, rather than a cause, of the disorder.

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