The dynamics of X-inactivation skewing as women age.
ABSTRACT Non-random X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) has been associated with X-linked diseases, neoplastic diseases, recurrent pregnancy loss, and trisomy risk. It also occurs more commonly in older female populations. To understand the etiology of non-random XCI and utilize this assay appropriately in clinical research and practice, the age-related alteration in XCI patterns in normal females needs to be clearly defined. In the present study, we evaluated the XCI status in 350 unselected women aged 0-88 years with unknown history of genetic disorders or abnormal pregnancies. DNA samples were extracted from peripheral blood and analyzed by a methylation-based assay at the androgen receptor locus. A weak but significant positive correlation was observed between age and degree of skewing in XCI over the whole age range (r = 0.23, p < 0.0001), and skewing values become non-normally distributed at older ages. However, the increase in skewed XCI appears to be more pronounced after age 30 than at younger ages. This trend supports the model of increased skewing with age as a consequence of hematopoietic stem cell senescence. An alternative possibility is that there is allele-specific loss of methylation with time that results in the appearance of increased XCI skewing using a methylation-based assay.
Article: Epigenetics and aging.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Over the past two decades, a growing interest on the research of the biological basis of human longevity has emerged, in order to clarify the intricacy of biological and environmental factors affecting (together with stochastic factors) the quality and the rate of human aging. These researches have outlined a complex scenario in which epigenetic marks, such as DNA methylation and numerous histone modifications, are emerging as important factors of the overall variation in life expectancy. In fact, epigenetic marks, that are responsible of the establishment of specific expression programs and of genome stability, represent a "drawbridge" across genetic, environmental and stochastic factors. In this review we provide an overview on the current knowledge and the general features of the epigenetic modifications characterizing the aging process.Maturitas 12/2012; · 2.77 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) is a pivotal epigenetic mechanism involved in the dosage compensation of X-linked genes between males and females. In any given cell, the process of XCI in early female development is thought to be random across alleles and clonally maintained once established. Recent studies, however, suggest that XCI might not always be random and that skewed inactivation may become more prevalent with age. The factors influencing such XCI skewing and its changes over time are largely unknown. To elucidate the influence of stochastic, heritable and environmental factors in longitudinal changes in XCI, we examined X inactivation profiles in a sample of monozygotic (MZ) (n = 23) and dizygotic (DZ) (n = 22) female twin-pairs at ages 5 and 10 years. Compared to MZ twins who were highly concordant for allelic XCI ratios, DZ twins showed much lower levels of concordance. Whilst XCI patterns were moderately stable between ages 5 and 10 years, there was some drift over time with an increased prevalence of more extreme XCI skewing at age 10. To our knowledge, this study represents the earliest longitudinal assessment of skewed XCI patterns, and suggests that skewed XCI may already be established in early childhood. Our data also suggest a link between MZ twinning and the establishment of allelic XCI ratios, and demonstrate that acquired skewing in XCI after establishment is primarily mediated by stochastic mechanisms. These data have implications for our understanding about sex differences in complex disease, and the potential causes of phenotypic discordance between MZ female twins.PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(3):e17873. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Female X-chromosome mosaicism for NOX2 deficiency presents unique inflammatory phenotype and improves outcome in polymicrobial sepsis.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Cellular X-chromosome mosaicism, which is unique to females, may be advantageous during pathophysiological challenges compared with the single X-chromosome machinery of males, and it may contribute to gender dimorphism in the inflammatory response. We tested the hypothesis of whether cellular mosaicism for the X-linked gp91phox (NOX2) deficiency, the catalytic component of the superoxide anion-generating NADPH oxidase complex, is advantageous during polymicrobial sepsis. Deficient, wild-type (WT), and heterozygous/mosaic mice were compared following polymicrobial sepsis initiated by cecal ligation and puncture. Compared with WT littermates, sepsis-induced mortality was improved in deficient mice, as well as in mosaic animals carrying both deficient and WT phagocyte subpopulations. In contrast, blood bacterial counts were greatest in deficient mice. Consistent with poor survival, WT mice also showed the most severe organ damage following sepsis. In mosaic animals, the deficient neutrophil subpopulations displayed increased organ recruitment and elevated CD11b membrane expression compared with WT neutrophil subpopulations within the same animal. The dynamics of sepsis-induced blood and organ cytokine content and WBC composition changes, including lymphocyte subsets in blood and bone marrow, showed differences among WT, deficient, and mosaic subjects, indicating that mosaic mice are not simply the average of the deficient and WT responses. Upon oxidative burst, interchange of oxidants between WT and deficient neutrophil subpopulations occurred in mosaic mice. This study suggests that mice mosaic for gp91phox expression have multiple advantages compared with WT and deficient mice during the septic course.The Journal of Immunology 06/2011; 186(11):6465-73. · 5.79 Impact Factor