Epigenetic differences in cortical neurons from a pair of monozygotic twins discordant for Alzheimer's disease

PLoS One. 2009 Aug 12;4(8):e6617. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006617.


DNA methylation is capable of modulating coordinate expression of large numbers of genes across many different pathways, and may therefore warrant investigation for their potential role between genes and disease phenotype. In a rare set of monozygotic twins discordant for Alzheimer's disease (AD), significantly reduced levels of DNA methylation were observed in temporal neocortex neuronal nuclei of the AD twin. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that epigenetic mechanisms may mediate at the molecular level the effects of life events on AD risk, and provide, for the first time, a potential explanation for AD discordance despite genetic similarities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism*
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • DNA Methylation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Humans
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Phenotype
  • Twins, Monozygotic*