Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
. 2012 Oct;15(5):483-94.
doi: 10.1089/rej.2012.1324.

The Role of DNA Methylation in Aging, Rejuvenation, and Age-Related Disease

Affiliations
Free PMC article
Review

The Role of DNA Methylation in Aging, Rejuvenation, and Age-Related Disease

Adiv A Johnson et al. Rejuvenation Res. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

DNA methylation is a major control program that modulates gene expression in a plethora of organisms. Gene silencing through methylation occurs through the activity of DNA methyltransferases, enzymes that transfer a methyl group from S-adenosyl-L-methionine to the carbon 5 position of cytosine. DNA methylation patterns are established by the de novo DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) DNMT3A and DNMT3B and are subsequently maintained by DNMT1. Aging and age-related diseases include defined changes in 5-methylcytosine content and are generally characterized by genome-wide hypomethylation and promoter-specific hypermethylation. These changes in the epigenetic landscape represent potential disease biomarkers and are thought to contribute to age-related pathologies, such as cancer, osteoarthritis, and neurodegeneration. Some diseases, such as a hereditary form of sensory neuropathy accompanied by dementia, are directly caused by methylomic changes. Epigenetic modifications, however, are reversible and are therefore a prime target for therapeutic intervention. Numerous drugs that specifically target DNMTs are being tested in ongoing clinical trials for a variety of cancers, and data from finished trials demonstrate that some, such as 5-azacytidine, may even be superior to standard care. DNMTs, demethylases, and associated partners are dynamically shaping the methylome and demonstrate great promise with regard to rejuvenation.

Figures

FIG. 1.
FIG. 1.
Schematic representation of the changes in the methylome during aging. Purple circles are indicative of methylated CpG dinucleotides. Aging is often marked by the establishment of global hypomethylation and regions of CpG island hypermethylation. These changes in the epigenetic landscape may contribute to aging by adversely affecting genomic stability and gene regulation. (Color image is available at www.liebertpub.com/rej).

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 72 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

Publication types

Substances

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback