Entorhinal cortex epigenome-wide association study highlights four novel loci showing differential methylation in Alzheimer’s disease
Sommerer Y., Dobricic V., Schilling M., Ohlei O., Sabet SS., Wesse T., Fuß J., Franzenburg S., Franke A., Parkkinen L., Lill CM., Bertram L.
Abstract Background Studies on DNA methylation (DNAm) in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have recently highlighted several genomic loci showing association with disease onset and progression. Methods Here, we conducted an epigenome-wide association study (EWAS) using DNAm profiles in entorhinal cortex (EC) from 149 AD patients and control brains and combined these with two previously published EC datasets by meta-analysis (total n = 337). Results We identified 12 cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) sites showing epigenome-wide significant association with either case–control status or Braak’s tau-staging. Four of these CpGs, located in proximity to CNFN/LIPE, TENT5A, PALD1/PRF1, and DIRAS1, represent novel findings. Integrating DNAm levels with RNA sequencing-based mRNA expression data generated in the same individuals showed significant DNAm-mRNA correlations for 6 of the 12 significant CpGs. Lastly, by calculating rates of epigenetic age acceleration using two recently proposed “epigenetic clock” estimators we found a significant association with accelerated epigenetic aging in the brains of AD patients vs. controls. Conclusion In summary, our study represents the hitherto most comprehensive EWAS in AD using EC and highlights several novel differentially methylated loci with potential effects on gene expression.