Age-Dependent Decrease of DNA Hydroxymethylation in Human T Cells

J Clin Exp Hematop. 2015;55(1):1-6. doi: 10.3960/jslrt.55.1.


Hydroxymethylcytosine (hmC) is a natural nucleobase, which is converted from methylcytosine (mC) by tet methylcytosine dioxygenase (TET) family (TET1-3) enzymes. Decrease of genomic hmC is postulated to confer a risk for myeloid-lineage as well as T-cell neoplasms, based on the fact that loss-of-function mutations in the TET2 gene were frequently identified in these diseases. The relationship between hmC and aging remains to be elucidated. Here, we demonstrated that hmC content decreased with age in the peripheral blood T cells of 53 human volunteers. We further identified that the mRNA expression levels of TET1 and TET3 decreased with age, while those of TET2 were not influenced by age. The genomic hmC content was correlated with the mRNA expression level of TET3, but not those of TET1 and TET2. Our study suggests the presence of new epigenetic regulatory mechanisms in aging T cells.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • DNA Methylation*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Dioxygenases / genetics
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Young Adult


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases
  • TET1 protein, human
  • TET3 protein, human
  • Dioxygenases