Age-associated changes in DNA methylation across multiple tissues in an inbred mouse model

Mech Ageing Dev. 2016 Mar:154:20-3. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2016.02.001. Epub 2016 Feb 6.


Epigenetic disruption has been implicated in many diseases of aging, and age-associated DNA methylation changes at specific genomic loci in humans are strongly correlated with chronological age. The aim of this study was to explore the specificity of selected age-associated differentially methylated positions (aDMPs) identified in human epidemiological studies by quantifying DNA methylation across multiple tissues in homologous regions of the murine genome. We selected four high-confidence aDMPs (located in the vicinity of the ELOVL2, GLRA1, MYOD1 and PDE4C genes) and quantified DNA methylation across these regions in four tissues (blood, lung, cerebellum and hippocampus) from male and female C57BL/6J mice, ranging in age from fetal (embryonic day 17) to 630 days. We observed tissue-specific age-associated changes in DNA methylation that was directionally consistent with those observed in humans. These findings lend further support to the notion that changes in DNA methylation are associated with chronological age and suggest that these processes are often conserved across tissues and between mammalian species. Our data highlight the relevance of utilizing model systems, in which environmental and genetic influences can be carefully controlled, for the further study of these phenomena.

Keywords: Aging; Cross-tissue; DNA methylation; Epigenetics; Inbred mouse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • DNA Methylation / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological*
  • Organ Specificity / physiology