DNA methylation and all-cause mortality in middle-aged and elderly Danish twins

Anne Marie Savine, Mette Soerensen, Jesper Lund, Qihua Tan, Juulia Jylhävä, Yunzhang Wang, Nancy L Pederson, Sara Hägg, Birgit Debrabant, Ian Deary, Kaare Christensen, Lene Christensen, Jacob B Hjelmborg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Several studies have linked DNA methylation at individual CpG sites to aging and various diseases. Recent studies have also identified single CpGs whose methylation levels are associated with all-cause mortality. In this study, we perform an epigenome-wide study of the association between CpG methylation and mortality in a population of 435 monozygotic twin pairs from three Danish twin studies. The participants were aged 55–90 at the time of blood sampling and were followed for up to 20 years. We validated our results by comparison with results from a British and a Swedish cohort, as well as results from the literature. We identified 2806 CpG sites associated with mortality (false discovery rate ( FDR)<0.05 ), of which 24 had an association p-value below 10−7 . This was confirmed by intra-pair comparison controlling for confounding effects. Eight of the 24 top sites could be validated in independent datasets or confirmed by previous studies. For all these eight sites, hypomethylation was associated with poor survival prognosis, and seven showed monozygotic correlations above 35%, indicating a potential moderate to strong heritability, but leaving room for substantial shared or unique environmental effects. We also set up a predictor for mortality using least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) regression. The predictor showed good performance on the Danish data under cross-validation, but did not perform very well in independent samples
Original languageEnglish
Article number78
Pages (from-to)1-15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • DNA methylation
  • mortality
  • EWAS
  • survival analysis
  • survival prediction
  • heritability


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