The ageing epigenome and its rejuvenation

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2020 Mar;21(3):137-150. doi: 10.1038/s41580-019-0204-5. Epub 2020 Feb 4.


Ageing is characterized by the functional decline of tissues and organs and the increased risk of ageing-associated disorders. Several 'rejuvenating' interventions have been proposed to delay ageing and the onset of age-associated decline and disease to extend healthspan and lifespan. These interventions include metabolic manipulation, partial reprogramming, heterochronic parabiosis, pharmaceutical administration and senescent cell ablation. As the ageing process is associated with altered epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation, such as DNA methylation, histone modification and chromatin remodelling, and non-coding RNAs, the manipulation of these mechanisms is central to the effectiveness of age-delaying interventions. This Review discusses the epigenetic changes that occur during ageing and the rapidly increasing knowledge of how these epigenetic mechanisms have an effect on healthspan and lifespan extension, and outlines questions to guide future research on interventions to rejuvenate the epigenome and delay ageing processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly / genetics
  • DNA Methylation / genetics
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / genetics*
  • Epigenome / genetics
  • Epigenomics / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Histone Code / genetics
  • Humans
  • Longevity / genetics
  • Rejuvenation / physiology*