Epigenetic regulation of ageing: linking environmental inputs to genomic stability

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2015 Oct;16(10):593-610. doi: 10.1038/nrm4048. Epub 2015 Sep 16.


Ageing is affected by both genetic and non-genetic factors. Here, we review the chromatin-based epigenetic changes that occur during ageing, the role of chromatin modifiers in modulating lifespan and the importance of epigenetic signatures as biomarkers of ageing. We also discuss how epigenome remodelling by environmental stimuli affects several aspects of transcription and genomic stability, with important consequences for longevity, and outline epigenetic differences between the 'mortal soma' and the 'immortal germ line'. Finally, we discuss the inheritance of characteristics of ageing and potential chromatin-based strategies to delay or reverse hallmarks of ageing or age-related diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Aging / pathology
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • Chromatin / pathology
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Gene-Environment Interaction*
  • Genomic Instability*
  • Humans


  • Biomarkers
  • Chromatin