Drug addiction develops into a debilitating psychiatric disorder. Changes in gene expression in brain reward systems are believed to contribute to the pathogenesis and maintenance of this condition. Recently, Increasing evidence has implicated epigenetic modifications of the genome through DNA methylation, histone modifications and non-coding RNAs (i.e., microRNAs) in many biological processes, including modification of the nervous system during learning, memory, and addiction. Such epigenetic mechanisms can integrate various environmental stimuli and cause long-term drug-induced transcriptional and behavioral changes. However, the detection of epigenetic alterations requires specialized instrumentation and expertise. It is not practical at the present time for most laboratories to become fully proficient in all aspects of experimental design and data analysis that are required to perform epigenetic genome-wide profiling. Moreover, fast-developing technology has enabled the Core to perform transcriptome analysis at the single cell level, which will certainly benefit drug addiction research, given the fact that brain reward regions are so heterogeneous. The CSORDA Epigenetics and Transcriptome Core (E/T-Core) Is newly established and with the goal of providing opportunities for drug addiction researchers to carry out epigenetic analyses (e.g., DNA methylation, histone modifications, microRNA detection), as well as advanced gene expression analyses with proficiency. The epigenetic and transcript profiling approaches can be broadly and effectively applied to drug addition studies to bring forward new important insights to advance the field.

Public Health Relevance

The E/T core provides exciting new technologies for epigenetic analysis as well as advanced gene expression analyses including single cell transcriptome profiling, which undoubtedly play an important role in the drug addiction studies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Specialized Center (P50)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDA1)
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University of California Los Angeles
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