A case control study investigating the methylation levels of <i>GHRL</i> and <i>GHSR</i> genes in alcohol use disorder

Ozkan-Kotiloglu S., AKYÜZLÜ D., Guven E., DOĞAN Ö., Agtas-Ertan E., Ozgur-Ilhan I.

MOLECULAR BIOLOGY REPORTS, vol.51, no.1, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 51 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11033-024-09585-4
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, Veterinary Science Database
  • Ankara University Affiliated: Yes


Background Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a relapsing disease described as excessive use of alcohol. Evidence of the role of DNA methylation in addiction is accumulating. Ghrelin is an important peptide known as appetite hormone and its role in addictive behavior has been identified. Here we aimed to determine the methylation levels of two crucial genes (GHRL and GHSR) in ghrelin signaling and further investigate the association between methylation ratios and plasma ghrelin levels. Methods Individuals diagnosed with (n = 71) and without (n = 82) AUD were recruited in this study. DNA methylation levels were measured through methylation-sensitive high-resolution melting (MS-HRM). Acylated ghrelin levels were detected by ELISA. The GHRL rs696217 polymorphism was analyzed by the standard PCR-RFLP method. Results GHRL was significantly hypermethylated (P < 0.0022) in AUD between 25 and 50% methylation than in control subjects but no significant changes of GHSR methylation were observed. Moreover, GHRL showed significant positive correlation of methylation ratio between 25 and 50% with age. A significant positive correlation between GHSR methylation and ghrelin levels in the AUD group was determined (P = 0.037). The level of GHRL methylation and the ghrelin levels showed a significant association in the control subjects (P = 0.042). Conclusion GHSR and GHRL methylation levels did not change significantly between control and AUD groups. However, GHRL and GHSR methylations seemed to have associations with plasma ghrelin levels in two groups. This is the first study investigating the DNA methylation of GHRL and GHSR genes in AUD.