How early changes in DNA methylation affects Alzheimer's disease revealed
A new study has revealed reveals how early changes in brain DNA methylation are involved in Alzheimer's disease.
DNA methylation is a biochemical alteration of the building blocks of DNA and is one of the markers that indicate whether the DNA is open and biologically active in a given region of the human genome.
According to a study Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and Rush University Medical Center, the approach may help them to better understand the biological impact of environmental risk factors and life experiences on Alzheimer's disease.
Lead study researcher Philip L. De Jager from Translational Neuropsychiatric Genomics, BWH Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry said that there are certain advantages to studying the epigenome, or the chemical changes that occur in DNA. The epigenome is malleable and may harbor traces of life events that influence disease susceptibility, such as smoking, depression and menopause, which may influence susceptibility to Alzheimer's and other diseases.
The findings revealed that methylation levels correlated with Alzheimer's disease in 71 of 415,848 CpG markers analyzed (these are a pair of DNA building blocks consisting of a cytosine and a guanine nucleotide that are located next to each other). These 71 markers were found in the ANK1 and RHBDF2 genes, as well as ABCA7 and BIN1 which harbor known Alzheimer's disease susceptibility variants.
The study was published online in Nature Neuroscience.
(Posted on 18-08-2014)