Alcohol and Epigenetic Modulations

Claudio D'Addario, Mauro Maccarrone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Alcohol exposure alters factors that modify gene expression in both animals and humans, and a pivotal role in these processes is played by epigenetic mechanisms, a set of posttranslational modifications that regulate gene expression, without causing variation in DNA sequence. The epigenetic machinery includes DNA methylation, histone modifications, and noncoding RNAs. We report here an introduction to epigenetics and the effects of alcohol of the different epigenetic mechanisms. It is shown how the epigenetic modifications evoked by alcohol differ, depending on the degree of exposure (i.e., acute vs. chronic). Moreover, since alcohol exposure is correlated with nutrient deficiencies, the role of nutrients in the regulation of epigenetic modifications of relevant genes is provided in the description of alcohol metabolism influence on the nutritional status, via epigenetics. A final paragraph suggests new possible targets addressed by alcohol, and future directions in the attempt to offer a new approach for the treatment of alcohol dependence, also based on reverse of the epigenetic signature.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMolecular Aspects of Alcohol and Nutrition: A Volume in the Molecular Nutrition Series
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780128010037
ISBN (Print)9780128007730
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Alcohol
  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetics
  • Gene expression
  • Histone acetylation
  • Histone modifications
  • Methylation
  • MiRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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