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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 396727, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/396727
Research Article

Gender-Specific DNA Methylome Analysis of a Han Chinese Longevity Population

1The Key Laboratory of Geriatrics, Beijing Hospital and Beijing Institute of Geriatrics, Ministry of Health, Beijing 100730, China
2Key Laboratory of Nutrition and Metabolism, Institute for Nutritional Sciences, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China
3Key Laboratory of Systems Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China
4University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing 100083, China
5Department of Neurology, Jiangbin Hospital, Nanning, Guangxi 530021, China
6Yongfu Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Yongfu, Guangxi 541800, China
7Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Guangxi Maternal and Child Health Hospital, Nanning, Guangxi 530003, China

Received 28 November 2013; Accepted 28 February 2014; Published 14 April 2014

Academic Editor: Jean X. Gao

Copyright © 2014 Liang Sun et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Human longevity is always a biological hotspot and so much effort has been devoted to identifying genes and genetic variations associated with longer lives. Most of the demographic studies have highlighted that females have a longer life span than males. The reasons for this are not entirely clear. In this study, we carried out a pool-based, epigenome-wide investigation of DNA methylation profiles in male and female nonagenarians/centenarians using the Illumina 450 K Methylation Beadchip assays. Although no significant difference was detected for the average methylation levels of examined CpGs (or probes) between male and female samples, a significant number of differentially methylated probes (DMPs) were identified, which appeared to be enriched in certain chromosome regions and certain parts of genes. Further analysis of DMP-containing genes (named DMGs) revealed that almost all of them are solely hypermethylated or hypomethylated. Functional enrichment analysis of these DMGs indicated that DNA hypermethylation and hypomethylation may regulate genes involved in different biological processes, such as hormone regulation, neuron projection, and disease-related pathways. This is the first effort to explore the gender-based methylome difference in nonagenarians/centenarians, which may provide new insights into the complex mechanism of longevity gender gap of human beings.