Department of Psychiatry, The University of Iowa, Iowa City IA, USA.
Chronic alcohol intake is associated with a wide variety of adverse health outcomes including depression, diabetes, and heart disease. Unfortunately, the molecular mechanisms through which these effects are conveyed are not clearly understood. To examine the potential role of epigenetic factors in this process, we examined the relationship of recent alcohol intake to genome wide methylation patterns using the Illumina 450 Methylation Bead Chip and lymphoblast DNA derived from 165 female subjects participating in the Iowa Adoption Studies. We found that the pattern of alcohol use over the 6-months immediately prior to phlebotomy was associated with, severity-dependent changes in the degree of genome wide methylation that preferentially hypermethylate the central portion of CpG islands with methylation at cg05600126, a probe in ABR, and the 5' untranslated region of BLCAP attaining genome wide significance in two point and sliding window analyses of probe methylation data, respectively. We conclude that recent alcohol use is associated with widespread changes in DNA methylation in women and that further study to confirm these findings and determine their relationship to somatic function are in order.