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Identification, replication and characterization of epigenetic remodelling in the aging genome: A cross population analysis

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Original languageEnglish
Article number8183
Pages (from-to)1-8
JournalScientific Reports
Early online date15 Aug 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Aug 2017


Aging is a complex biological process regulated by multiple cellular pathways and molecular mechanisms including epigenetics. Using genome-wide DNA methylation data measured in a large collection of Scottish old individuals, we performed discovery association analysis to identify age-methylated CpGs and replicated them in two independent Danish cohorts. The double-replicated CpGs were characterized by distribution over gene regions and location in relation to CpG islands. The replicated CpGs were further characterized by involvement in biological pathways to study their functional implications in aging. We identified 67,604 age-associated CpG sites reaching genome-wide significance of FWER<0.05, 86% demethylated with increasing age. Double-replication resulted in 5,168 CpGs (39% age-methylated and 61% age-demethylated) which were characterized by high concentration of age-methylated CpGs at 1stExon and TSS200 and a dominant pattern of age-demethylated CpGs at other gene regions, and by overwhelming age-related methylation in CpG islands and demethylation at shore/shelf and open sea. The differential distribution patterns over gene regions for methylated and demethylated CpGs both relate to reduced gene activity during aging. Pathway analysis showed that age-dependent methylations were especially involved in cellular signalling activities while demethylations particularly linked to functions of the extracellular matrix, all implicated in the aging process and age-related disease risk

    Research areas

  • aging, DNA methylation, association analysis, genomic location, pathway analysis

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