Changes of DNA methylation level during pre- and postnatal periods in mice

Differentiation. 1990 Oct;45(1):44-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-0436.1990.tb00455.x.


DNA methylation in an adult mammalian body shows tissue-specificity. But when and how the specificity is established in the process of development has not yet been elucidated. Here we have investigated age-dependent changes in the amount of 5-methyldeoxycytidine (5mdC) that DNA of various mouse tissues contains during the late-fetal and postnatal periods, using high-performance liquid chromatography. The tissue-specificity in the 5mdC level was observed in the late-fetal stage, and the level continued to change during the subsequent periods. The most pronounced alterations were observed in brain and liver, where similar biphasic changes were seen, but at different ages. At maturation, the 5mdC levels were high in thymus, spleen and brain, intermediate in lung, and low in liver and sperm. The data demonstrate the importance of the peri- and postnatal periods in establishment of tissue-specificity in 5mdC content.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cytosine / analysis
  • Cytosine / metabolism
  • DNA / analysis
  • DNA / metabolism*
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxycytidine / analysis
  • Deoxycytidine / metabolism
  • Liver / chemistry
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Lung / chemistry
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Methylation
  • Mice
  • Postpartum Period
  • Spleen / chemistry
  • Spleen / metabolism
  • Thymus Gland / chemistry
  • Thymus Gland / metabolism


  • Deoxycytidine
  • Cytosine
  • DNA
  • 5-methyldeoxycytidine