Perinatal maternal alcohol consumption and methylation of the dopamine receptor DRD4 in the offspring: the Triple B study
Fransquet, Peter D., Hutchinson, Delyse, Olsson, Craig A., Wilson, Judy, Allsop, Steve, Najman, Jake, Elliott, Elizabeth, Mattick, Richard P., Saffery, Richard and Ryan, Joanne 2016, Perinatal maternal alcohol consumption and methylation of the dopamine receptor DRD4 in the offspring: the Triple B study, Environmental epigenetics, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 1-9, doi: 10.1093/eep/dvw023.
Maternal alcohol use during the perinatal period is a major public health issue, the higher ends of which are associatedwith foetal alcohol spectrum disorder and a range of adverse health outcomes in the progeny. The underlying molecularmechanisms remain largely unknown but may include the epigenetic disruption of gene activity during development.Alcohol directly activates the neurotransmitter dopamine, which plays an essential role in neurodevelopment. To investigatewhether antenatal and early postnatal alcohol consumption were associated with differential dopamine receptor DRD4promoter methylation in infants (n¼844). Data were drawn from the large population based Triple B pregnancy cohortstudy, with detailed information on maternal alcohol consumption in each trimester of pregnancy and early postpartum.DNA was extracted from infant buccal swabs collected at 8-weeks. DRD4 promoter DNA methylation was analysed bySequenomMassARRAY.No strong evidence was found for an association between alcohol consumption during pregnancy and infant DRD4 methylationat 8-weeks postpartum. However,maternal alcohol consumption assessed contemporaneously at 8-weeks postpartumwas associated with increased methylation at 13 of 19 CpG units examined (largest Dþ3.20%, 95%ConfidenceInterval:1.66,4.75%, P¼0.0001 at CpG.6). This association was strongest in women who breastfeed, suggesting the possibility ofa direct effect of alcohol exposure via breastmilk. The findings of this study could influence public health guidelines around alcoholconsumption for breastfeedingmothers; however, further research is required to confirm these novel findings.
Field of Research
170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing
Socio Economic Objective
970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
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