• Open Access

Methylation of ELOVL2 gene as a new epigenetic marker of age

Authors

  • Paolo Garagnani,

    1. Department of Experimental Pathology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
    2. Interdept. Centre for Bioinformatics, Biophysics and Biocomplexity L. Galvani, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
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  • Maria G. Bacalini,

    1. Department of Experimental Pathology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
    2. Interdept. Centre for Bioinformatics, Biophysics and Biocomplexity L. Galvani, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
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  • Chiara Pirazzini,

    1. Department of Experimental Pathology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
    2. Interdept. Centre for Bioinformatics, Biophysics and Biocomplexity L. Galvani, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
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  • Davide Gori,

    1. Department of Medicine and Public Health, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
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  • Cristina Giuliani,

    1. Department of Experimental Evolutionary Biology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
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  • Daniela Mari,

    1. Department of Medical Sciences, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
    2. Geriatric Unit IRCSS Cà Grande Foundation Maggiore Policlinico Hospital, Milan, Italy
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  • Anna M. Di Blasio,

    1. Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy
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  • Davide Gentilini,

    1. Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy
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  • Giovanni Vitale,

    1. Department of Medical Sciences, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
    2. Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy
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  • Sebastiano Collino,

    1. Metabolomics and Biomarkers, Department of BioAnalytical Science, Nestlé Research Center, Nestec Ltd., Lausanne, Switzerland
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  • Serge Rezzi,

    1. Metabolomics and Biomarkers, Department of BioAnalytical Science, Nestlé Research Center, Nestec Ltd., Lausanne, Switzerland
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  • Gastone Castellani,

    1. Physics and Biophysics, Department of Physics, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
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  • Miriam Capri,

    1. Department of Experimental Pathology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
    2. Interdept. Centre for Bioinformatics, Biophysics and Biocomplexity L. Galvani, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
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  • Stefano Salvioli,

    1. Department of Experimental Pathology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
    2. Interdept. Centre for Bioinformatics, Biophysics and Biocomplexity L. Galvani, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
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  • Claudio Franceschi

    Corresponding author
    1. Interdept. Centre for Bioinformatics, Biophysics and Biocomplexity L. Galvani, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
    • Department of Experimental Pathology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
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Correspondence

Professor Claudio Franceschi, Department of Experimental Pathology, via S. Giacomo, 12, I-40126 Bologna, Italy. Tel.: +39 051 209 4743; fax: +39 051 209 4747; e-mail: claudio.franceschi@unibo.it

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.

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