Global Methylation Patterns in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Dorothy P. and Richard P. Simmons Center for Interstitial Lung Disease, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 04/2012; 7(4):e33770. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033770
Source: PubMed


Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) is characterized by profound changes in the lung phenotype including excessive extracellular matrix deposition, myofibroblast foci, alveolar epithelial cell hyperplasia and extensive remodeling. The role of epigenetic changes in determining the lung phenotype in IPF is unknown. In this study we determine whether IPF lungs exhibit an altered global methylation profile.
Immunoprecipitated methylated DNA from 12 IPF lungs, 10 lung adenocarcinomas and 10 normal histology lungs was hybridized to Agilent human CpG Islands Microarrays and data analysis was performed using BRB-Array Tools and DAVID Bioinformatics Resources software packages. Array results were validated using the EpiTYPER MassARRAY platform for 3 CpG islands. 625 CpG islands were differentially methylated between IPF and control lungs with an estimated False Discovery Rate less than 5%. The genes associated with the differentially methylated CpG islands are involved in regulation of apoptosis, morphogenesis and cellular biosynthetic processes. The expression of three genes (STK17B, STK3 and HIST1H2AH) with hypomethylated promoters was increased in IPF lungs. Comparison of IPF methylation patterns to lung cancer or control samples, revealed that IPF lungs display an intermediate methylation profile, partly similar to lung cancer and partly similar to control with 402 differentially methylated CpG islands overlapping between IPF and cancer. Despite their similarity to cancer, IPF lungs did not exhibit hypomethylation of long interspersed nuclear element 1 (LINE-1) retrotransposon while lung cancer samples did, suggesting that the global hypomethylation observed in cancer was not typical of IPF.
Our results provide evidence that epigenetic changes in IPF are widespread and potentially important. The partial similarity to cancer may signify similar pathogenetic mechanisms while the differences constitute IPF or cancer specific changes. Elucidating the role of these specific changes will potentially allow better understanding of the pathogenesis of IPF.

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    • "MSI is studied by amplifying microsatellites that are proximal to a putative gene and examining the shift in electrophoretic pattern caused by the addition or deletion of repetitive units [17]. Genetic studies on MSI have already shown its implications as acquired mutations in benign lung conditions [18] and as a potential marker for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis [17,19,20]. Epithelial cells lining the trachea, bronchi and bronchioles of the lungs are prone to such mutations [21]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Transposable elements (TEs) are a class of mobile genetic elements (MGEs) that were long regarded as junk DNA, which make up approximately 45% of the genome. Although most of these elements are rendered inactive by mutations and other gene silencing mechanisms, TEs such as long interspersed nuclear elements (LINEs) are still active and translocate within the genome. During transposition, they may create lesions in the genome, thereby acting as epigenetic modifiers. Approximately 65 disease-causing LINE insertion events have been reported thus far; however, any possible role of TEs in complex disorders is not well established. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one such complex disease that is primarily caused by cigarette smoking. Although the exact molecular mechanism underlying COPD remains unclear, oxidative stress is thought to be the main factor in the pathogenesis of COPD. In this review, we explore the potential role of oxidative stress in epigenetic activation of TEs such as LINEs and the subsequent cascade of molecular damage. Recent advancements in sequencing and computation have eased the identification of mobile elements. Therefore, a comparative study on the activity of these elements and markers for genome instability would give more insight on the relationship between MGEs and complex disorder such as COPD.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Respiratory research
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    • "DNA methylation changes and expression of chromatin modifiers could also be involved in the differential splicing observed in IPF. A recent study revealed an altered DNA methylation pattern in IPF with great similarity to the methylation pattern of lung cancer [42]. This is likely to be relevant for IPF, considering that several recent studies address the issue of non-promoter DNA methylation and the possible involvement in nucleosomal positioning and transcriptional regulation [43], [44]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is an interstitial lung disease of unknown cause that lacks a proven therapy for altering its high mortality rate. Microarrays have been employed to investigate the pathogenesis of IPF, but are presented mostly at the gene-expression level due to technologic limitations. In as much as, alternative RNA splicing isoforms are increasingly identified as potential regulators of human diseases, including IPF, we propose a new approach with the capacity to detect splicing variants using RNA-seq data. We conducted a joint analysis of differential expression and differential splicing on annotated human genes and isoforms, and identified 122 non-differentially expressed genes with a high degree of "switch" between major and minor isoforms. Three cases with variant mechanisms for alternative splicing were validated using qRT-PCR, among the group of genes in which expression was not significantly changed at the gene level. We also identified 35 novel transcripts that were unique to the fibrotic lungs using exon-exon junction evidence, and selected a representative for qRT-PCR validation. The results of our study are likely to provide new insight into the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis and may eventuate in new treatment targets.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "In support of this hypothesis is an increasing body of evidence that implicates an altered global DNA methylation profile in IPF pathogenesis [11,12]. It is of particular interest that DNA hypermethylation has been associated with myofibroblast differentiation [13,14]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Pulmonary fibrosis is a debilitating and lethal disease with no effective treatment options. Understanding the pathological processes at play will direct the application of novel therapeutic avenues. Hypoxia has been implicated in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis yet the precise mechanism by which it contributes to disease progression remains to be fully elucidated. It has been shown that chronic hypoxia can alter DNA methylation patterns in tumour-derived cell lines. This epigenetic alteration can induce changes in cellular phenotype with promoter methylation being associated with gene silencing. Of particular relevance to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is the observation that Thy-1 promoter methylation is associated with a myofibroblast phenotype where loss of Thy-1 occurs alongside increased alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression. The initial aim of this study was to determine whether hypoxia regulates DNA methylation in normal human lung fibroblasts (CCD19Lu). As it has been reported that hypoxia suppresses Thy-1 expression during lung development we also studied the effect of hypoxia on Thy-1 promoter methylation and gene expression. Methods CCD19Lu were grown for up to 8 days in hypoxia and assessed for global changes in DNA methylation using flow cytometry. Real-time PCR was used to quantify expression of Thy-1, α-SMA, collagen I and III. Genomic DNA was bisulphite treated and methylation specific PCR (MSPCR) was used to examine the methylation status of the Thy-1 promoter. Results Significant global hypermethylation was detected in hypoxic fibroblasts relative to normoxic controls and was accompanied by increased expression of myofibroblast markers. Thy-1 mRNA expression was suppressed in hypoxic cells, which was restored with the demethylating agent 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine. MSPCR revealed that Thy-1 became methylated following fibroblast exposure to 1% O2. Conclusion These data suggest that global and gene-specific changes in DNA methylation may play an important role in fibroblast function in hypoxia.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · Respiratory research
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