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Background: Altered DNA methylation patterns represent an attractive mechanism for understanding the phenotypic changes associated with human aging. Several studies have described global and complex age-related methylation changes, but their structural and functional significance has remained largely unclear. Results: We have used transcriptome sequencing to characterize age-related gene expression changes in the human epidermis. The results revealed a significant set of 75 differentially expressed genes with a strong functional relationship to skin homeostasis. We then used whole-genome bisulfite sequencing to identify age-related methylation changes at single-base resolution. Data analysis revealed no global aberrations, but rather highly localized methylation changes, particularly in promoter and enhancer regions that were associated with altered transcriptional activity. Conclusions: Our results suggest that the core developmental program of human skin is stably maintained through the aging process and that aging is associated with a limited destabilization of the epigenome at gene regulatory elements. © 2013 Raddatz et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Raddatz, G., Hagemann, S., Aran, D., Söhle, J., Kulkarni, P. P., Kaderali, L., … Lyko, F. (2013). Aging is associated with highly defined epigenetic changes in the human epidermis. Epigenetics and Chromatin, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1756-8935-6-36