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Genes 2015, 6(4), 991-1022; doi:10.3390/genes6040991

Current and Future Prospects for Epigenetic Biomarkers of Substance Use Disorders

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA
2
Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA
3
Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
4
Center for Family Research, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jeffrey Craig and Thomas Mikeska
Received: 27 July 2015 / Revised: 16 September 2015 / Accepted: 22 September 2015 / Published: 14 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetic Biomarkers)
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Abstract

Substance abuse has an enormous impact on economic and quality of life measures throughout the world. In more developed countries, overutilization of the most common forms of substances of abuse, alcohol and tobacco, is addressed primarily through prevention of substance use initiation and secondarily through the treatment of those with substance abuse or dependence. In general, these therapeutic approaches to substance abuse are deemed effective. However, there is a broad consensus that the development of additional tools to aid diagnosis, prioritize treatment selection and monitor treatment response could have substantial impact on the effectiveness of both substance use prevention and treatment. The recent demonstrations by a number of groups that substance use exposure is associated with robust changes in DNA methylation signatures of peripheral blood cells suggests the possibility that methylation assessments of blood or saliva could find broad clinical applications. In this article, we review recent progress in epigenetic approaches to substance use assessment with a particular emphasis on smoking (and alcohol) related applications. In addition, we highlight areas, such as the epigenetics of psychostimulant, opioid and cannabis abuse, which are markedly understudied and could benefit from intensified collaborative efforts to define epigenetic biomarkers of abuse and dependence. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomarkers; epigenetics; substance use disorders; addiction; smoking; tobacco; alcohol; cannabis; opioids; psychostimulants biomarkers; epigenetics; substance use disorders; addiction; smoking; tobacco; alcohol; cannabis; opioids; psychostimulants
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Andersen, A.M.; Dogan, M.V.; Beach, S.R.; Philibert, R.A. Current and Future Prospects for Epigenetic Biomarkers of Substance Use Disorders. Genes 2015, 6, 991-1022.

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