Sunday, April 03, 2011

Parental ages and levels of DNA methylation in the newborn are correlated.

Parental ages and levels of DNA methylation in the newborn are correlated.
Adkins RM, Thomas F, Tylavsky FA, Krushkal J.


BACKGROUND: Changes in DNA methylation patterns with age frequently have been observed and implicated in the normal aging process and its associated increasing risk of disease, particularly cancer. Additionally, the offspring of older parents are at significantly increased risk of cancer, diabetes, and neurodevelopmental disorders. Only a proportion of these increased risks among the children of older parents can be attributed to nondisjunction and chromosomal rearrangements.

RESULTS: Using a genome-wide survey of 27,578 CpG dinucleotides in a cohort of 168 newborns, we examined the relationship between DNA methylation in newborns and a variety of parental and newborn traits. We found that methylation levels of 144 CpGs belonging to 142 genes were significantly correlated with maternal age. A weaker correlation was observed with paternal age. Among these genes, processes related to cancer were over-represented, as were functions related to neurological regulation, glucose/carbohydrate metabolism, nucleocytoplasmic transport, and transcriptional regulation. CpGs exhibiting gender differences in methylation were overwhelmingly located on the X chromosome, although a small subset of autosomal CpGs were found in genes previously shown to exhibit gender-specific differences in methylation levels.

CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that there are differences in CpG methylation levels at birth that are related to parental age and that could influence disease risk in childhood and throughout life.



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