Simplified assay for epigenetic age estimation in whole blood of adults

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Biological age is not always concordant with chronological age and the departures are of interest for understanding how diseases and environmental insults affect tissue function, organismal health, and life expectancy. The best-known biological age biomarker is telomere length, but there are more accurate biomarkers as the recently developed based in epigenetic, transcriptomic, or biochemical changes. The most accurate are the epigenetic biomarkers based on specific changes in DNA methylation referred as DNA methylation age measures (DmAM). Here, we have developed and validated a new DmAM that addresses some limitations of the previously available. The new DmAM includes the study in whole blood (WB) of 8 CpG sites selected as the most informative on a training set of 390 healthy subjects. The 8 CpG DmAM showed better accuracy than other DmAM based in few CpG in an independent validation set of 335 subjects. Results were not significantly influenced by sex, smoking, or variation in blood cell subpopulations. In addition, the new 8 CpG DmAM was amenable to study in a single multiplex reaction done with methylation-sensitive single-nucleotide primer extension (MS-SNuPE), a methodology based on commercially available reagents and run in capillary electrophoresis sequencers. In this way, the high cost of DNA methylation microarrays or of a pyrosequencer, which are needed for alternative DmAM, was avoided. Performance of the DmAM with MS-SNuPE was assessed in a set of 557 donors, showing high call rate (> 97%), low CV (< 3.3%) and high accuracy (Mean Absolute Deviation = 6.07 years). Therefore, the 8 CpG DmAM is a feasible and accurate tool for assessing the epigenetic component of biological age in blood of adults.




Vidal-Bralo, L., Lopez-Golan, Y., & Gonzalez, A. (2016). Simplified assay for epigenetic age estimation in whole blood of adults. Frontiers in Genetics, 7(JUL).

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