Methylation of OPRL 1 mediates the effect of psychosocial stress on binge drinking in adolescents
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 59, 650-658, 2018
Nociceptin is a key regulator linking environmental stress and alcohol drinking. In a genome‐wide methylation analysis, we recently identified an association of a methylated region in the OPRL1 gene with alcohol‐use disorders.
Here, we investigate the biological basis of this observation by analysing psychosocial stressors, methylation of the OPRL1 gene, brain response during reward anticipation and alcohol drinking in 660 fourteen‐year‐old adolescents of the IMAGEN study. We validate our findings in marchigian sardinian (msP) alcohol‐preferring rats that are genetically selected for increased alcohol drinking and stress sensitivity.
We found that low methylation levels in intron 1 of OPRL1 are associated with higher psychosocial stress and higher frequency of binge drinking, an effect mediated by OPRL1 methylation. In individuals with low methylation of OPRL1, frequency of binge drinking is associated with stronger BOLD response in the ventral striatum during reward anticipation. In msP rats, we found that stress results in increased alcohol intake and decreased methylation of OPRL1 in the nucleus accumbens.
Our findings describe an epigenetic mechanism that helps to explain how psychosocial stress influences risky alcohol consumption and reward processing, thus contributing to the elucidation of biological mechanisms underlying risk for substance abuse.
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).