In order to determine whether epigenetic changes specific to the manic mood state can be detected in peripheral blood samples we assayed DNA methylation levels genome-wide in serum samples obtained from 20 patients hospitalized for mania and 20 unaffected controls using the Illumina 450K methylation arrays.We identified a methylation locus in the CYP11A1 gene, which is regulated by corticotropin, that is hypo-methylated in individuals hospitalized for mania compared with unaffected controls. DNA methylation levels at this locus appear to be state related as levels in follow-up samples collected from mania patients six months after hospitalization were similar to those observed in controls. In addition, we found that methylation levels at the CYP11A1 locus were significantly correlated with three inflammatory markers in serum in acute mania cases but not in unaffected controls. We conclude that mania is associated with alterations in levels of DNA methylation and inflammatory markers. Since epigenetic markers are potentially malleable, a better understanding of the role of epigenetics may lead to new methods for the prevention and treatment of mood disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)