Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry
Glutamate decarboxylases (GAD67/65; GAD1/GAD2) are crucially involved in gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) synthesis and thus were repeatedly suggested to play an important role in the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders. In the present study, DNA methylation patterns in the GAD1 and GAD2 promoter and GAD1 intron 2 regions were investigated for association with panic disorder, with particular attention to possible effects of environmental factors.
Over the last several years proteins involved in base excision repair (BER) have been implicated in active DNA demethylation. We review the literature supporting BER as a means of active DNA demethylation, and explain how the various components function and cooperate to remove the potentially most enduring means of epigenetic gene regulation. Recent evidence indicates that the same pathways implicated during periods of widespread DNA demethylation, such as the erasure of methyl marks in the paternal pronucleus soon after fertilization, are operational in post-mitotic neurons.
Many genetic studies report mixed results both for the associations between COMT polymorphisms and schizophrenia and for the effects of COMT variants on common intermediate phenotypes of the disorder. Reasons for this may include small genetic effect sizes and the modulation of environmental influences.
Substance use often starts in adolescence and poses a major problem for society and individual health. The dopamine system plays a role in substance use, and catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is an important enzyme that degrades dopamine. The Val(108/158) Met polymorphism modulates COMT activity and thus dopamine levels, and has been linked to substance use. COMT gene methylation, on the other hand, may affect expression and thus indirectly COMT activity. We investigated whether methylation of the COMT gene was associated with adolescents' substance use.