Altered hydroxymethylome in the substantia nigra of Parkinson's disease

Hum Mol Genet. 2022 Oct 10;31(20):3494-3503. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddac122.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, and aging and genetic and environmental exposure can contribute to its pathogenesis. DNA methylation has been suggested to play a pivotal role in neurodevelopment and neurodegenerative diseases. 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) is generated through 5-methylcytosine (5mC) oxidization by ten-eleven translocation proteins and is particularly enriched in the brain. Although 5hmC has been linked to multiple neurological disorders, little is known about 5hmC alterations in the substantia nigra of patients with PD. To determine the specific alterations in DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation in PD brain samples, we examined the genome-wide profiles of 5mC and 5hmC in the substantia nigra of patients with PD and Alzheimer's disease (ad). We identified 4119 differentially hydroxymethylated regions (DhMRs) and no differentially methylated regions (DMRs) in the postmortem brains of patients with PD compared with those of controls. These DhMRs were PD-specific when compared with the results of AD. Gene ontology analysis revealed that several signaling pathways, such as neurogenesis and neuronal differentiation, were significantly enriched in PD DhMRs. KEGG enrichment analysis revealed substantial alterations in multiple signaling pathways, including phospholipase D (PLD), cAMP and Rap1. In addition, using a PD Drosophila model, we found that one of the 5hmC-modulated genes, PLD1, modulated α-synuclein toxicity. Our analysis suggested that 5hmC may act as an independent epigenetic marker and contribute to the pathogenesis of PD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 5-Methylcytosine / metabolism
  • DNA Methylation / genetics
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease* / genetics
  • Phospholipase D* / genetics
  • Phospholipase D* / metabolism
  • Substantia Nigra / metabolism
  • alpha-Synuclein / genetics
  • alpha-Synuclein / metabolism


  • alpha-Synuclein
  • 5-Methylcytosine
  • Phospholipase D