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Keywords:

  • aging;
  • biomarker;
  • DNA methylation;
  • ELOVL 2 ;
  • FHL 2 ;
  • PENK

Summary

The discovery of biomarkers able to predict biological age of individuals is a crucial goal in aging research. Recently, researchers' attention has turn toward epigenetic markers of aging. Using the Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip on whole blood DNA from a small cohort of 64 subjects of different ages, we identified 3 regions, the CpG islands of ELOVL2, FHL2, and PENK genes, whose methylation level strongly correlates with age. These results were confirmed by the Sequenom's EpiTYPER assay on a larger cohort of 501 subjects from 9 to 99 years, including 7 cord blood samples. Among the 3 genes, ELOVL2 shows a progressive increase in methylation that begins since the very first stage of life (Spearman's correlation coefficient = 0.92) and appears to be a very promising biomarker of aging.