Gene. 2012 Feb 13. [Epub ahead of print]
Global DNA promoter methylation in frontal cortex of alcoholics and controls.
Manzardo AM, Henkhaus RS, Butler MG.
To determine if ethanol consumption and alcoholism cause global DNA methylation disturbances, we examined alcoholics and controls using methylation specific microarrays to detect all annotated gene and non-coding microRNA promoters and their CpG islands. DNA was isolated and immunoprecipitated from the frontal cortex of 10 alcoholics and 10 age and gender-matched controls then labeled prior to co-hybridization. A modified Kolmogorov-Smirnov test was used to predict differentially enriched regions (peaks) from log-ratio estimates of amplified vs input DNA. More than 180,000 targets were identified for each subject which correlated with >30,000 distinct, integrated peaks or high probability methylation loci. Peaks were mapped to regions near 17,810 separate annotated genes per subject representing hypothetical methylation targets. No global methylation differences were observed between the two subject groups with 80% genetic overlap, but extreme methylation was observed in both groups at specific loci corresponding with known methylated genes (e.g., H19) and potentially other genes of unknown methylation status. Methylation density patterns targeting CpG islands visually correlated with recognized chromosome banding. Our study provides insight into global epigenetic regulation in the human brain in relationship to controls and potentially novel targets for hypothesis generation and follow-up studies of alcoholism.