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Mild internet use is associated with epigenetic alterations...

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Dec 15, 2023, 8:51:37 AM12/15/23

Mild internet use is associated with epigenetic alterations of key
neurotransmission genes in salivary DNA of young university students

The potentially problematic use of the Internet is a growing concern
worldwide, which causes and consequences are not completely understood
yet. The neurobiology of Internet addiction (IA) has attracted much
attention in scientific research, which is now focusing on identifying
measurable biological markers. Aim of this study was to investigate
epigenetic and genetic regulation of oxytocin receptor (OXTR), dopamine
transporter (DAT1) and serotonin transporter (SERT) genes using DNA
obtained from saliva samples of young university students: the Internet
Addiction Test (IAT) was administered to evaluate the potential
existence and intensity of IA. Significant changes in DNA methylation
levels at OXTR, DAT1 and SERT genes were observed in the 30 < IAT < 49
group (mild-risk internet users) compared to the IAT < 29 subjects
(complete control of internet use) and IAT > 50 subjects (considered as
moderately addicted). Moreover, epigenetic markers were significantly
correlated, either directly (for OXTR and DAT1) or inversely (OXTR and
DAT1 versus SERT), to the psychometric properties. Our data confirmed
the association of OXTR, DAT1 and SERT genes in processes related to
behavioural addictions and might be of relevance to suggest possible
biological predictors of altered behaviours and the eventual
vulnerability to develop an IA.


n-84, all Finnish university students... but it got published in Nature.

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