Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society (Epigenetics )

Journal description

Epigenetics is a new peer-reviewed journal available in print and online. This multidisciplinary journal publishes original research articles and reviews covering the latest aspects of epigenetic mechanisms and their regulation of diverse biological processes. The goal is to foster communication and rapid exchange of information through timely publication of important results using traditional as well as electronic formats. The overriding criteria for publication in Epigenetics are originality, scientific merit and general interest. The official journal of the Epigenetics Society.

Current impact factor: 5.11

Impact Factor Rankings

2015 Impact Factor Available summer 2015
2013/2014 Impact Factor 5.108
2012 Impact Factor 4.92
2011 Impact Factor 4.318
2010 Impact Factor 4.622
2009 Impact Factor 4.584

Impact factor over time

Impact factor
Year

Additional details

5-year impact 0.00
Cited half-life 2.30
Immediacy index 0.68
Eigenfactor 0.00
Article influence 1.85
Website Epigenetics website
Other titles Epigenetics (Online), Epigenetics
ISSN 1559-2308
OCLC 62511506
Material type Document, Periodical, Internet resource
Document type Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Alterations of epigenetic marks are linked to normal development and cellular differentiation as well as to the progression of common chronic diseases. The plasticity of these marks provides potential for disease therapies and prevention strategies. Macro- and micro-nutrients have been shown to modulate disease risk in part via effects on the epigenome. The essential micronutrient selenium affects human health outcomes, e.g., cancers, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases, via selenoproteins and through a range of biologically active dietary selenocompounds and metabolism products thereof. This review provides an assessment of the current literature regarding epigenetic effects of dietary and synthetic selenocompounds, which include the modulation of marks and editors of epigenetic information and interference with one-carbon metabolism, which provides the methyl donor for DNA methylation. The relevance of a selenium-epigenome interaction for human health is discussed, and we also indicate where future studies will be helpful to gain a deeper understanding of epigenetic effects elicited by selenium.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 02/2015;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: (N=281) Higher levels of LINE1 methylation in blood DNA have been associated with increased kidney cancer risk using post-diagnostically collected samples; however, this association has never been examined using pre-diagnostic samples. We examined the association between LINE1 %5mC and renal cell carcinoma (RCC) risk using pre-diagnostic blood DNA from the United States-based, prostate, lung, colorectal, and ovarian cancer screening trial (PLCO) (215 cases/436 controls), and the α-tocopherol, β-carotene cancer prevention study (ATBC) of Finnish male smokers (191 cases/575 controls). Logistic regression adjusted for age at blood draw, study center, pack-years of smoking, body mass index, hypertension, dietary alcohol intake, family history of cancer, and sex was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using cohort and sex-specific methylation categories. In PLCO, higher, although non-significant, RCC risk was observed for participants at or above median methylation level (M2) compared to those below the median (M1) (OR: 1.37, 95% CI: 0.96-1.95). The association was stronger in males (M2 vs. M1, OR: 1.54, 95% CI: 1.00-2.39) and statistically significant among male smokers (M2 vs. M1, OR: 2.60, 95% CI: 1.46-4.63). A significant interaction for smoking was also detected (P-interaction: 0.01). No association was found among females or female smokers. Findings for male smokers were replicated in ATBC (M2 vs. M1, OR: 1.31, 95% CI: 1.07-1.60). In a pooled analysis of PLCO and ATBC male smokers (281cases/755controls), the OR among subjects at or above median methylation level (M2) compared to those below the median (M1) was 1.89 (95% CI: 1.34-2.67, P-value: 3 x 10(-4)); a trend was also observed by methylation quartile (P-trend: 0.002). These findings suggest that higher LINE1 methylation levels measured prior to cancer diagnosis may be a biomarker of future RCC risk among male smokers.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 02/2015;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract In mammals, DNA methylation profiles vary substantially between tissues. Recent genome-scale studies report that blood displays a highly distinctive methylomic profile from other somatic tissues. In this study, we sought to understand why blood DNA methylation state is so different to the one found in other tissues. We found that whole blood contains approximately twice as many tissue-specific differentially methylated positions (tDMPs) than any other somatic tissue examined. Furthermore, a large subset of blood tDMPs showed much lower levels of methylation than tDMPs for other tissues. Surprisingly, these regions of low methylation in blood show no difference regarding genomic location, genomic content, evolutionary rates, or histone marks when compared to other tDMPs. Our results reveal why blood displays a distinctive methylation profile relative to other somatic tissues. In the future, it will be important to study how these blood specific tDMPs are mechanistically involved in blood-specific functions.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 01/2015;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Chordomas are aggressive rare type of malignant bone tumors arising from the remnant of the notochord. Chordomas occur mainly in vertebral bones and account for 1%-4% of malignant bone tumors. Management and treatment of chordomas are difficult as they are resistant to conventional chemotherapy; therefore, they are mainly treated with surgery and radiation therapy. In this study, we performed DNA methylation profiling of 26 chordomas and normal nucleus pulposus samples plus UCH-1 chordoma cell line using the Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChips. Combined bisulfite restriction analysis and bisulfite sequencing was used to confirm the methylation data. Gene expression was analyzed using RT-PCR before and after 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-azaDC) treatment of chordoma cell lines. Analysis of the HumanMethylation450 BeadChip data led to the identification of 8819 loci (2.9%) that were significantly differentially methylated (>0.2 average β-value difference) between chordomas and nucleus pulposus samples (adjusted P < 0.05). Among these, 5868 probes (66.5%) were hypomethylated, compared to 2951 (33.5%) loci that were hypermethylated in chordomas compared to controls. From the 2951 differentially hypermethylated probes, 33.3% were localized in the promoter region (982 probes) and, among these, 104 probes showed cancer-specific hypermethylation. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis indicates that the cancer-specific differentially methylated loci are involved in various networks including cancer disease, nervous system development and function, cell death and survival, cellular growth, cellular development, and proliferation. Furthermore, we identified a subset of probes that were differentially methylated between recurrent and non-recurrent chordomas. BeadChip methylation data was confirmed for these genes and gene expression was shown to be upregulated in methylated chordoma cell lines after treatment with 5-azaDC. Understanding epigenetic changes in chordomas may provide insights into chordoma tumorigenesis and development of epigenetic biomarkers.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 01/2015;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT The response of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) to injury may go together with alterations in epigenetics, a conjecture that has not been subjected to a comprehensive, genome-wide test. Using reduced representation bisulfite sequencing, we report widespread remodeling of DNA methylation in the rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) occurring within 24 h of peripheral nerve ligation, a neuropathy model of allodynia. Significant (P < 10-4) cytosine hyper- and hypo-methylation was found at thousands of CpG sites. Remodeling occurred outside of CpG islands. Changes affected genes with known roles in the PNS, yet methylome remodeling also involved genes that were not linked to neuroplasticity by prior evidence. Consistent with emerging models relying on genome-wide methylation and RNA-seq analysis of promoter regions and gene bodies, variation of methylation was not tightly linked with variation of gene expression. Furthermore, approximately 44% of the dynamically changed CpGs were located outside of genes. We compared their positions with the intergenic, tissue-specific differentially methylated CpGs (tDMCs) of an independent experimental set consisting of liver, spleen, L4 control DRG, and muscle. Dynamic changes affected those intergenic CpGs that were different between tissues (P < 10(-15)) and almost never the invariant portion of the methylome (those CpGs that were identical across all tissues). Our findings-obtained in mixed tissue-show that peripheral nerve injury leads to methylome remodeling in the DRG. Future studies may address which of the cell types found in the DRG, such as specific groups of neurons or non-neuronal cells are affected by which aspect of the observed methylome remodeling.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 01/2015;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Preterm birth is a leading cause of infant mortality and can lead to poor life-long health and adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes. The pathophysiologic mechanisms that precede preterm labor remain elusive, and the role that epigenetic phenomena play is largely unstudied. The objective of this study was to assess the association between microRNA (miRNA) expression levels in cervical cells obtained from swabs collected during pregnancy and the length of gestation. We analyzed cervical samples obtained between 16 and 19 weeks of gestation from 53 women in a prospective cohort from Mexico City, and followed them until delivery. Cervical miRNA was extracted and expression was quantified using the NanoString nCounter Analysis System. Linear regression models were used to examine the association between miRNA expression levels and gestational age at delivery, adjusted for maternal age, education, parity, body mass index, smoke exposure, and inflammation assessed on a Papanicolaou smear. We identified six miRNAs that were significantly associated with gestational age at the time of delivery, including miR-21, 30e, 142, 148b, 29b, and 223. Notably, per each doubling in miR-21 expression, gestations were 0.9 (95% CI: 0.2-1.5) days shorter on average (P = 0.009). Per each doubling in miR-30e, 142, 148b, 29b, and 223 expression, gestations were shorter by 1.0 to 1.6 days. The predicted targets of the miRNAs were enriched for molecules involved in DNA replication and inflammatory processes. The levels of specific miRNAs in the human cervix during pregnancy are predictive of gestational age at delivery, and should be validated in future studies as potential biomarkers of preterm birth risk.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 01/2015;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Secretoglobins are a superfamily of secreted proteins thought to participate in inflammation, tissue repair, and tumorigenesis. Secretoglobin family 2A member 1 (Scgb2a1) is a component of prostatein, a major androgen-binding protein secreted by the rat prostate. Using a rat model for developmental reprogramming of susceptibility to prostate carcinogenesis, we identified, by RNA-seq, that Scgb2a1 is significantly upregulated (>100-fold) in the prostate of adult rats neonatally exposed to bisphenol A (BPA), with increased gene expression confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR and chromatin immunoprecipitation for histone H3 lysine 9 acetylation. Bisulfite analysis of two CpG islands located within 10 kb of the Scgb2a1 promoter identified significant hypomethylation of the CpG island upstream of the transcription start site of this gene in the reprogrammed prostate. These data suggest that expression of Scgb2a1 in the adult prostate could be epigenetically reprogrammed by BPA exposure during prostate development, with potential implications for cancer risk and response to chemotherapeutics associated with prostatein binding.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 01/2015;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) constitutes >90% of oral cancers and is the sixth most common malignancy among males worldwide and the fourth leading cause of death due to cancer among males in Taiwan. However, most patients do not receive a diagnosis of OSCC until the late stages, which have a lower survival rate. The use of molecular marker analysis to identify early-stage OSCC would permit optimal timing for treatments and consequently prolong survival. The aim of this study was to identify biomarkers of OSCC using the Illumina GoldenGate Methylation Cancer Panel, which comprised a total of 1,505 CpG sites covering 807 genes. Samples of buccal mucosa resected from 40 OSCC patients and normal tissue samples obtained from 15 patients (normal mucosa from OSCC patients or from patients undergoing surgery unrelated to OSCC) were analyzed. Fms-related tyrosine kinase 4 (FLT4) methylation exhibited a perfect specificity for detecting OSCC, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.91 for both all-stage and early-stage OSCC. Methylation of seven genes (ASCL1, FGF3, FLT4, GAS7, KDR, TERT, and TFPI2) constitutes the top-20 panels for detecting OSCC. The top-20 panels for detecting early-stage OSCC contain 8 genes: ADCYAP1, EPHA7, FLT4, GSTM2, KDR, MT1A, NPY, and TFPI2. FLT4 RNA expression and methylation level were validated using reverse-transcription PCR and a pyrosequencing methylation assay. The median level of FLT4 expression was 2.14-fold for normal relative to OSCC tissue samples (P<0.0001). Among the eight pyrosequenced FLT4 CpG sites, methylation level was much higher in the OSCC samples. In conclusion, methylation statuses of selected genes, and especially FLT4, KDR, and TFPI2, might be of great potential as biomarkers for early detection of buccal OSCC.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 01/2015;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Histone acetylation modulates gene expression and has been described as increased in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We investigated interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF1) interactions that influence H4 acetylation (H4ac) in SLE. Intracellular flow cytometry for H4 acetylated lysine (K) 5, K8, K12, and K16 was performed. Histone acetylation was defined in monocytes and T cells from controls and SLE patients. RNA-Seq studies were performed on monocytes to look for an imbalance in histone acetyltransferases and histone deacetylase enzyme expression. Expression levels were validated using real-time quantitative RT-PCR. IRF1 induction of H4ac was evaluated using D54MG cells overexpressing IRF1. IRF1 protein interactions were studied using co-immunoprecipitation assays. IRF1-dependent recruitment of histone acetyltransferases to target genes was examined by ChIP assays using p300 antibody. Flow cytometry data showed significantly increased H4K5, H4K8, H4K12, and H4K16 acetylation in SLE monocytes. HDAC3 and HDAC11 gene expression were decreased in SLE monocytes. PCAF showed significantly higher gene expression in SLE than controls. IRF1-overexpressing D54MG cells were associated with significantly increased H4K5, H4K8, and H4K12 acetylation compared to vector-control D54MG cells both globally and at specific target genes. Co-immunoprecipitation studies using D54MG cells revealed IRF1 protein-protein interactions with PCAF, P300, CBP, GCN5, ATF2, and HDAC3. ChIP experiments demonstrated increased p300 recruitment to known IRF1 targets in D54MG cells overexpressing IRF1. In contrast, p300 binding to IRF1 targets decreased in D54MG cells with IRF1 knockdown. SLE appears to be associated with an imbalance in histone acetyltransferases and histone deacetylase enzymes favoring pathologic H4 acetylation. Furthermore, IRF1 directly interacts with chromatin modifying enzymes, supporting a model where recruitment to specific target genes is mediated in part by IRF1.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 01/2015;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Methylated DNA immunoprecipitation sequencing (MeDIP-Seq) is a widely used approach to study DNA methylation genome-wide. Here, we developed a MeDIP-Seq protocol compatible with the Ion Torrent semiconductor-based sequencing platform that is low cost, rapid, and scalable. We applied this protocol to demonstrate MeDIP-Seq on the Ion Torrent platform provides adequate coverage of CpG cytosines, the methylation states of which we validated at single-base resolution on the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip array, and accurately identifies sites of differential DNA methylation. Furthermore, we applied an integrative approach to further investigate and confirm the role of DNA methylation in alternative splicing and to profile 5mC and 5hmC variants of DNA methylation in normal human brain tissue that we observed to localize over distinct genomic regions. These applications of MeDIP-Seq on the Ion Torrent platform have broad utility and add to the current methodologies for profiling genome-wide DNA methylation states in normal and disease conditions.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 01/2015;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract The reversible ubiquitylation of histone H2B has long been known to regulate gene transcription, and is now understood to modulate DNA replication as well. In this review, we describe how recent, genome-wide analyses have demonstrated that this histone mark has further reaching effects on transcription and replication than once thought. We also consider the ongoing efforts to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which H2B ubiquitylation affects processes on the DNA template, and outline the various hypothetical scenarios.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 01/2015;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Aberrant DNA methylation in the blood of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) has been reported in several previous studies. However, no comprehensive studies using medication-free subjects with MDD have been conducted. Furthermore, the majority of these previous studies has been limited to the analysis of the CpG sites in CpG islands (CGIs) in the gene promoter regions. The main aim of the present study is to identify DNA methylation markers that distinguish patients with MDD from non-psychiatric controls. Genome-wide DNA methylation profiling of peripheral leukocytes was conducted in two set of samples, a discovery set (20 medication-free patients with MDD and 19 controls) and a replication set (12 medication-free patients with MDD and 12 controls), using Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChips. Significant diagnostic differences in DNA methylation were observed at 363 CpG sites in the discovery set. All of these loci demonstrated lower DNA methylation in patients with MDD than in the controls, and most of them (85.7%) were located in the CGIs in the gene promoter regions. We were able to distinguish patients with MDD from the control subjects with high accuracy in the discriminant analysis using the top DNA methylation markers. We also validated these selected DNA methylation markers in the replication set. Our results indicate that multiplex DNA methylation markers may be useful for distinguishing patients with MDD from non-psychiatric controls.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 01/2015;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Congenital heart defects represent the most common malformation at birth, occurring also in ˜50% of individuals with Down syndrome. Congenital heart defects are thought to have multifactorial etiology, but the main causes are largely unknown. We have explored the global methylation profile of fetal heart DNA in comparison to blood DNA from control subjects: an absolute correlation with the type of tissue was detected. Pathway analysis revealed a significant enrichment of differential methylation at genes related to muscle contraction and cardiomyopathies in the developing heart DNA. We have also searched for abnormal methylation profiles on developing heart-tissue DNA of syndromic and non-syndromic congenital heart defects. On average, 3 regions with aberrant methylation were detected per sample and 18 regions were found differentially methylated between groups. Several epimutations were detected in candidate genes involved in growth regulation, apoptosis and folate pathway. A likely pathogenic hypermethylation of several intragenic sites at the MSX1 gene, involved in outflow tract morphogenesis, was found in a fetus with isolated heart malformation. In addition, hypermethylation of the GATA4 gene was present in fetuses with Down syndrome with or without congenital heart defects, as well as in fetuses with isolated heart malformations. Expression deregulation of the abnormally methylated genes was detected. Our data indicate that epigenetic alterations of relevant genes are present in developing heart DNA in fetuses with both isolated and syndromic heart malformations. These epimutations likely contribute to the pathogenesis of the malformation by cis-acting effects on gene expression.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 01/2015;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT DNA methylation data assayed using pyrosequencing techniques are increasingly being used in human cohort studies to investigate associations between epigenetic modifications at candidate genes and exposures to environmental toxicants and to examine environmentally-induced epigenetic alterations as a mechanism underlying observed toxicant-health outcome associations. For instance, in utero lead (Pb) exposure is a neurodevelopmental toxicant of global concern that has also been linked to altered growth in human epidemiological cohorts; a potential mechanism of this association is through alteration of DNA methylation (e.g., at growth-related genes). However, because the associations between toxicants and DNA methylation might be weak, using appropriate quality control and statistical methods is important to increase reliability and power of such studies. Using a simulation study, we compared potential approaches to estimate toxicant-DNA methylation associations that varied by how methylation data were analyzed (repeated measures vs. averaging all CpG sites) and by method to adjust for batch effects (batch controls vs random effects). We demonstrate that correcting for batch effects using plate controls yields unbiased associations, and that explicitly modeling the CpG site-specific variances and correlations among CpG sites increases statistical power. Using the recommended approaches, we examined the association between DNA methylation (in LINE-1 and growth related genes IGF2, H19 and HSD11B2) and three biomarkers of Pb exposure (Pb concentrations in umbilical cord blood, maternal tibia, and maternal patella), among mother-infant pairs of the Early Life Exposures in Mexico to Environmental Toxicants (ELEMENT) cohort (n = 247). Those with 10 μg/g higher patella Pb had, on average, 0.61% higher IGF2 methylation (p = 0.05). Sex-specific trends between Pb and DNA methylation (p<0.1) were observed among girls including a 0.23% increase in HSD11B2 methylation with 10 μg/g higher patella Pb.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 01/2015;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Observations over the last decade suggest that some RNA transcripts, such as non-coding RNAs, function in regulating the transcriptional and epigenetic state of gene expression. DNA methylation appears to be operative in non-coding RNA regulation of gene expression. Interestingly, methylated cytosines undergo deamination to remove the methylation, which if not properly repaired results in the methylated cytosine being recognized by the cell as a thymine. This observation suggests that the process of non-coding RNA-directed epigenetic targeting also has the potential to alter the genomic landscape of the cell by changing cytosines to thymines and ultimately influence the evolution of the cell. This proposed theory of "RNA-mediated gene evolution" might be one possible mechanism of action whereby RNA participates in the natural selective process to drive cellular and possibly organismal evolution.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 01/2015;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Data linking assisted reproductive technologies (ART) with aberrant DNA methylation is limited and inconclusive. In addition, most studies to date have analyzed only a small number of CpG sites and focused on methylation changes in placentas, while data on cord blood are scarce. Our aim was to compare DNA methylation in cord blood samples from ART (N = 10) and control pregnancies (N = 8) using a genome-wide approach with the Illumina® Infinium Human Methylation27 array, which interrogates 27,578 CpG sites. A total of 733 (2.7%) of the CpG sites were significantly differentially methylated between the two groups (P < 0.05), with an overall relative hypomethylation in the ART group (P < 0.001). Differences in DNA methylation were more pronounced for CpG sites in certain types of genomic locations and were related to baseline methylation levels and distance from CpG islands and transcription start sites. ART was associated with significantly higher variation in DNA methylation, suggesting that differences in DNA methylation between cases and controls may result from a stochastic increase in genome-wide DNA methylation in IVF pregnancies. We identified 24 candidate genes with 2 or more CpG sites that were significantly different between the IVF and control groups. The current study provides support for the hypothesis that ART-associated subfertility may be associated with genome-wide changes in DNA methylation, and these changes appear to be, at least in part, due to epigenetic instability in ART pregnancies. Further studies are required in order to determine the extent to which such ART-related epigenetic instability may have phenotypic consequences.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 01/2015;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract In animal models, middle-aged females sustain greater ischemia-induced infarction as compared to adult females. This age difference in infarct severity is associated with reduced functional capacity of astrocytes, a critical neural support cell. The impaired response of astrocytes following stroke in middle-aged females may be related to epigenetic alterations, including histone acetylation or methylation. The present study measured the activity of enzymes that regulate histone acetylation and methylation in cerebral cortical astrocytes of adult (6 month) and middle-aged (11+ month) female rats 48 h following middle cerebral artery occlusion. H3K4 histone methyltransferase activity was decreased in astrocytes from middle-aged females. The next experiment therefore examined H3K4me3 (transcriptional enhancer) and H3K9me3 (transcriptional repressor) in astrocytes from adult and middle-aged females using ChIP-seq analysis. Adult females had more enriched H3K4me3 peaks (304 vs. 26) at transcriptional start sites and fewer H3K9me3 enriched peaks than middle-aged females (4 vs. 22), indicating a pattern of less active chromatin in astrocytes in the older group following ischemia. DAVID clustering analysis of H3K4me3 enriched genes found several functional categories, including cell motility, regulation of apoptosis and the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway. H3K4me3 was enriched at the mir17-20 cluster and VEGFa, and analysis of a separate set of astrocytes confirmed that VEGF protein expression and mir20 mRNA expression were significantly greater following ischemia in adult females compared to middle-aged females. These data indicate that astrocytes display less active chromatin with aging and provide new insight into possible mechanisms for differences in stroke severity observed during aging.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 01/2015;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Neural tube defects (NTDs) are common birth defects of complex etiology. Though family- and population-based studies have confirmed a genetic component, the responsible genes for NTDs are still largely unknown. Based on the hypothesis that folic acid prevents NTDs by stimulating methylation reactions, epigenetic factors, such as DNA methylation, are predicted to be involved in NTDs. Homeobox (HOX) genes play a role in spinal cord development and are tightly regulated in a spatiotemporal and collinear manner, partly by epigenetic modifications. We have quantified DNA methylation for the different HOX genes by subtracting values from a genome-wide methylation analysis using leukocyte DNA from 10 myelomeningocele (MMC) patients and 6 healthy controls. From the 1575 CpGs profiled for the 4 HOX clusters, 26 CpGs were differentially methylated (P-value < 0.05; β-difference > 0.05) between MMC patients and controls. Seventy-seven percent of these CpGs were located in the HOXA and HOXB clusters, with the most profound difference for 3 CpGs within the HOXB7 gene body. A validation case-control study including 83 MMC patients and 30 unrelated healthy controls confirmed a significant association between MMC and HOXB7 hypomethylation (-14.4%; 95% CI: 11.9-16.9%; P-value < 0.0001) independent of the MTFHR 667C>T genotype. Significant HOXB7 hypomethylation was also present in 12 unaffected siblings, each related to a MMC patient, suggestive of an epigenetic change induced by the mother. The inclusion of a neural tube formation model using zebrafish showed that Hoxb7a overexpression but not depletion resulted in deformed body axes with dysmorphic neural tube formation. Our results implicate HOXB7 hypomethylation as risk factor for NTDs and highlight the importance for future genome-wide DNA methylation analyses without preselecting candidate pathways.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 01/2015;