Research Paper Volume 12, Issue 18 pp 17863—17894
Epigenetic mutation load is weakly correlated with epigenetic age acceleration
- 1 Department of Epidemiology, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
- 2 Department of Human Genetics, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
- 3 Population Sciences in the Pacific Program (Cancer Epidemiology), University of Hawaii Cancer Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA
- 4 Department of Biostatistics, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
- 5 Department of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
Received: June 3, 2020 Accepted: August 8, 2020 Published: September 29, 2020https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.103950
How to Cite
Copyright: © 2020 Yan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
DNA methylation (DNAm) age estimators are widely used to study aging-related conditions. It is not yet known whether DNAm age is associated with the accumulation of stochastic epigenetic mutations (SEMs), which reflect dysfunctions of the epigenetic maintenance system. Here, we defined epigenetic mutation load (EML) as the total number of SEMs per individual. We assessed associations between EML and DNAm age acceleration estimators using biweight midcorrelations in four population-based studies (total n = 6,388). EML was not only positively associated with chronological age (meta r = 0.171), but also with four measures of epigenetic age acceleration: the Horvath pan tissue clock, intrinsic epigenetic age acceleration, the Hannum clock, and the GrimAge clock (meta-analysis correlation ranging from r = 0.109 to 0.179). We further conducted pathway enrichment analyses for each participant’s SEMs. The enrichment result demonstrated the stochasticity of epigenetic mutations, meanwhile implicated several pathways: signaling, neurogenesis, neurotransmitter, glucocorticoid, and circadian rhythm pathways may contribute to faster DNAm age acceleration. Finally, investigating genomic-region specific EML, we found that EMLs located within regions of transcriptional repression (TSS1500, TSS200, and 1stExon) were associated with faster age acceleration. Overall, our findings suggest a role for the accumulation of epigenetic mutations in the aging process.