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DNA methylation signatures of chronic low-grade inflammation are associated with complex diseases

Ligthart, S; Marzi, C; Aslibekyan, S; Mendelson, MM; Conneely, KN; Tanaka, T; Colicino, E; ... Dehghan, A; + view all (2016) DNA methylation signatures of chronic low-grade inflammation are associated with complex diseases. Genome Biology , 17 , Article 255. 10.1186/s13059-016-1119-5. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Chronic low-grade inflammation reflects a subclinical immune response implicated in the pathogenesis of complex diseases. Identifying genetic loci where DNA methylation is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation may reveal novel pathways or therapeutic targets for inflammation. RESULTS: We performed a meta-analysis of epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) of serum C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a sensitive marker of low-grade inflammation, in a large European population (n = 8863) and trans-ethnic replication in African Americans (n = 4111). We found differential methylation at 218 CpG sites to be associated with CRP (P < 1.15 × 10(-7)) in the discovery panel of European ancestry and replicated (P < 2.29 × 10(-4)) 58 CpG sites (45 unique loci) among African Americans. To further characterize the molecular and clinical relevance of the findings, we examined the association with gene expression, genetic sequence variants, and clinical outcomes. DNA methylation at nine (16%) CpG sites was associated with whole blood gene expression in cis (P < 8.47 × 10(-5)), ten (17%) CpG sites were associated with a nearby genetic variant (P < 2.50 × 10(-3)), and 51 (88%) were also associated with at least one related cardiometabolic entity (P < 9.58 × 10(-5)). An additive weighted score of replicated CpG sites accounted for up to 6% inter-individual variation (R2) of age-adjusted and sex-adjusted CRP, independent of known CRP-related genetic variants. CONCLUSION: We have completed an EWAS of chronic low-grade inflammation and identified many novel genetic loci underlying inflammation that may serve as targets for the development of novel therapeutic interventions for inflammation.

Type: Article
Title: DNA methylation signatures of chronic low-grade inflammation are associated with complex diseases
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s13059-016-1119-5
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13059-016-1119-5
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2016. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Keywords: Body mass index, C-reactive protein, Coronary heart disease, DNA methylation, Diabetes, Epigenome-wide association study, Inflammation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1532717
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