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Journal of Nucleic Acids
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 870726, 5 pages
Research Article

Distribution of 5-Hydroxymethylcytosine in Different Human Tissues

R&D Division, Epigentek Group Inc., 110 Bi County Boulevard, Suite 122, Farmingdale, NY 11735, USA

Received 5 January 2011; Revised 24 February 2011; Accepted 15 April 2011

Academic Editor: Dmitry Veprintsev

Copyright © 2011 Weiwei Li and Min Liu. 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.


5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC) is a modified form of cytosine recently found in mammalians and is believed, like 5-methylcytosine, to also play an important role in switching genes on and off. By utilizing a newly developed 5-hmC immunoassay, we determined the abundance of 5-hmC in human tissues and compared 5-hmC states in normal colorectal tissue and cancerous colorectal tissue. Significant differences of 5-hmC content in different tissues were observed. The percentage of 5-hmC measured is high in brain, liver, kidney and colorectal tissues (0.40–0.65%), while it is relatively low in lung (0.18%) and very low in heart, breast, and placenta (0.05-0.06%). Abundance of 5-hmC in the cancerous colorectal tissues was significantly reduced (0.02–0.06%) compared to that in normal colorectal tissues (0.46–0.57%). Our results showed for the first time that 5-hmC distribution is tissue dependent in human tissues and its abundance could be changed in the diseased states such as colorectal cancer.