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Hypomethylation of Alu elements in post-menopausal women with osteoporosis.


ABSTRACT: A decrease in genomic methylation commonly occurs in aging cells; however, whether this epigenetic modification leads to age-related phenotypes has not been evaluated. Alu elements are the major interspersed repetitive DNA elements in humans that lose DNA methylation in aging individuals. Alu demethylation in blood cells starts at approximately 40 years of age, and the degree of Alu hypomethylation increases with age. Bone mass is lost with aging, particularly in menopausal women with lower body mass. Consequently, osteoporosis is commonly found in thin postmenopausal women. Here, we correlated the Alu methylation level of blood cells with bone density in 323 postmenopausal women. Alu hypomethylation was associated with advanced age and lower bone mass density, (P<0.05). The association between the Alu methylation level and bone mass was independent of age, body mass, and body fat, with an odds ratio [1] ?=?0.4316 (0.2087-0.8927). Individuals of the same age with osteopenia, osteoporosis, and a high body mass index have lower Alu methylation levels (P?=?0.0005, 0.003, and ?0.0001, respectively). Finally, when comparing individuals with the same age and body mass, Alu hypomethylation was observed in individuals with lower bone mass (P<0.0001). In conclusion, there are positive correlations between Alu hypomethylation in blood cells and several age-related phenotypes in bone and body fat. Therefore, reduced global methylation may play a role in the systemic senescence process. Further evaluation of Alu hypomethylation may clarify the epigenetic regulation of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women.

SUBMITTER: Jintaridth P 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3749148 | BioStudies | 2013-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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