Epigenetic mechanisms of drug addiction vulnerability

Allison A. Milian, Cari J. Bendersky, Deena Walker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Drug addiction is characterized by abnormal and often persistent changes in gene expression throughout the limbic circuitry of the brain. Over the past decade, epigenetic mechanisms, such as alterations in histone posttranslational modifications and DNA methylation, have been suggested to play key roles in the orchestration of dynamic and long-lasting transcriptional and behavioral responses to drugs of abuse. Numerous environmental factors that are known to enhance an individual’s vulnerability to drug addiction have similarly been demonstrated to promote persistent changes in neuronal chromatin function in the brain. Here, we will attempt to shed light on the epigenetic mechanisms contributing to addiction vulnerability, with the hope that current and future studies will aid in the development of improved strategies for the prevention and treatment of this devastating psychiatric disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEpigenetics in Psychiatry
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780128235775
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Acetylation
  • Acute/chronic drug exposure
  • Addiction vulnerability
  • Chromatin remodeling
  • Cross-sensitization
  • Epigenetic inheritance
  • G9a
  • HDACs
  • Histone PTMs
  • Long-term plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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