Life Long Changes in DNA Methylation & ncRNAs in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are characterized by life-long changes in gene expression, neurodevelopment and behavior. What mechanisms initiate and maintain these changes are not known, but current research suggests a role for alcohol-induced epigenetic changes. We assessed alterations to adult mouse brain tissue by assaying DNA cytosine methylation and small noncoding RNA (ncRNA) expression, specifically the microRNA (miRNA) and small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) subtypes. We found long-lasting alterations in DNA methylation as a result of fetal alcohol exposure, specifically in the imprinted regions of the genome harboring ncRNAs and sequences interacting with regulatory proteins. The findings of this study help to expand on the mechanisms behind the long-lasting changes in the brain transcriptome of FASD individuals.