Potential novel biomarker for alcohol dependence

May 29, 2019

(Boston)--Specific molecules (small noncoding microRNAs or miRNAs) found in saliva may be able to predict alcohol dependence as biomarkers.

This is the first study to examine changes in the miRNA expression in the saliva of people with alcohol dependence. Currently, no genetic markers exist to test for this condition.

Alcohol dependence is a common, complex and genetically inuenced disorder. A current diagnosis depends primarily on self-reported symptoms, which is limited by inaccurate recall or reluctance of patients to give accurate information on their drinking behaviors or alcohol-related problems.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) first used miRNA sequencing (miRNA-seq) technology to prole miRNA transcriptomes in the saliva of patients with alcohol dependence and healthy control subjects from both African-American (AA) and European-American (EA) populations. They then identied salivary miRNAs that expressed differently in people with alcohol dependence as compared to the control group. Using a machine learning approach, the researchers were then able to predict alcohol dependency in approximately 80 percent of AAs and 72 percent of EAs.

According to the researchers, there is considerable interest in the identication of biological measurements (or biomarkers) to assess a patient's current or past alcohol use.

"The identication of disease-specic biomarkers in easily accessible body uids such as saliva can result in the early diagnosis and treatment of diseases. This study provides initial evidence that salivary miRNAs are potential biomarkers for this illness," explained corresponding author Huiping Zhang, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at BUSM.
-end-
These findings appear online in the journal Epigenomics.

Funding for this study was provided by grants (R21AA023068 and R01AA025080) from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Editor's Note:

HR Kranzler has been an advisory board member, consultant or continuing medical education speaker for Alkermes, Indivior and Lundbeck. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology's Alcohol Clinical Trials Initiative (ACTIVE), which was supported in the last three years by AbbVie, Alkermes, Amygdala Neurosciences, Arbor Pharmaceuticals, Ethypharm, Indivior, Lilly, Lundbeck, Otsuka and Pfizer. HR Kranzler and J Gelernter are named as inventors on PCT patent application #15/878,640 entitled: "Genotype-guided dosing of opioid agonists," filed 24 January 2018.

Boston University School of Medicine

Related Alcohol Articles from Brightsurf:

Alcohol use changed right after COVID-19 lockdown
One in four adults reported a change in alcohol use almost immediately after stay-at-home orders were issued: 14% reported drinking more alcohol and reported higher levels of stress and anxiety than those who did not drink and those whose use stayed the same.

Changes in hospitalizations for alcohol use disorder in US
Changes over nearly two decades in the rate of hospitalizations and in-hospital deaths from alcohol use disorder in the US were examined in this study.

Associations of alcohol consumption, alcohol-induced passing out with risk of dementia
The risk of future dementia associated with overall alcohol consumption and alcohol-induced loss of consciousness in a population of current drinkers was examined in this observational study with more than 131,000 adults.

New alcohol genes uncovered
Do you have what is known as problematic alcohol use?

Does estrogen influence alcohol use disorder?
A new study from researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago shows that high estrogen levels may make alcohol more rewarding to female mice.

Sobering new data on drinking and driving: 15% of US alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities involve alcohol under the legal limit
A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, published by Elsevier, found that motor vehicle crashes involving drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) below the legal limit of 0.08 percent accounted for 15% of alcohol-involved crash deaths in the United States.

Alcohol-induced deaths in US
National vital statistics data from 2000 to 2016 were used to examine how rates of alcohol-induced deaths (defined as those deaths due to alcohol consumption that could be avoided if alcohol weren't involved) have changed in the US and to compare the results by demographic groups including sex, race/ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status and geographic location.

Cuts in alcohol duty linked to 2000 more alcohol-related deaths in England
Government cuts to alcohol taxes have had dramatic consequences for public health, including nearly 2000 more alcohol-related deaths in England since 2012, according to new research from the University of Sheffield's School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR).

Integrated stepped alcohol treatment for people in HIV care improves both HIV & alcohol outcomes
Increasing the intensity of treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) over time improves alcohol-related outcomes among people with HIV, according to new clinical research supported by the National Institutes of Health.

The Lancet:Targets to reduce harmful alcohol use are likely to be missed as global alcohol intake increases
Increasing rates of alcohol use suggest that the world is not on track to achieve targets against harmful alcohol use, according to a study of 189 countries' alcohol intake between 1990-2017 and estimated intake up to 2030, published in The Lancet.

Read More: Alcohol News and Alcohol Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.