CDKN2A Gene Expression as a Potential Aging Biomarker in Dogs

Front Vet Sci. 2021 Apr 26;8:660435. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2021.660435. eCollection 2021.


Describing evolutionary conserved physiological or molecular patterns, which can reliably mark the age of both model organisms and humans or predict the onset of age-related pathologies has become a priority in aging research. The age-related gene-expression changes of the Cyclin Dependent Kinase Inhibitor 2A (CDKN2A) gene have been well-documented in humans and rodents. However, data is lacking from other relevant species, including dogs. Therefore, we quantified the CDKN2A mRNA abundance in dogs of different ages, in four tissue types: the frontal cortex of the brain, temporal muscle, skin, and blood. We found a significant, positive correlation between CDKN2A relative expression values and age in the brain, muscle, and blood; however, no correlation was detected in the skin. The strongest correlation was detected in the brain tissue (CDKN2A/GAPDH: r = 0.757, p < 0.001), similarly to human findings, while the muscle and blood showed weaker, but significant correlation. Our results suggest that CDKN2A might be a potential blood-borne biomarker of aging in dogs, although the validation and optimization will require further, more focused research. Our current results also clearly demonstrate that the role of CDKN2A in aging is conserved in dogs, regarding both tissue specificity and a pivotal role of CDKN2A in brain aging.

Keywords: CDKN2A; aging; biomarker; blood; dog; gene expression.