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Epigenetics Chromatin. 2017 Apr 27;10:21. doi: 10.1186/s13072-017-0128-2. eCollection 2017.

Differential DNA methylation and lymphocyte proportions in a Costa Rican high longevity region.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Genetics, Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, BC Children's Hospital Research Institute, University of British Columbia, 950 West 28th Ave, Vancouver, Canada.
2
School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA USA.
3
Centro Centroamericano de Población, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica.
4
Division of General Medical Disciplines, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Stanford University, 1070 Arastradero Road, Suite 300, Palo Alto, CA 94304 USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica has one of the highest old-age life expectancies in the world, but the underlying biological mechanisms of this longevity are not well understood. As DNA methylation is hypothesized to be a component of biological aging, we focused on this malleable epigenetic mark to determine its association with current residence in Nicoya versus elsewhere in Costa Rica. Examining a population's unique DNA methylation pattern allows us to differentiate hallmarks of longevity from individual stochastic variation. These differences may be characteristic of a combination of social, biological, and environmental contexts.

METHODS:

In a cross-sectional subsample of the Costa Rican Longevity and Healthy Aging Study, we compared whole blood DNA methylation profiles of residents from Nicoya (n = 48) and non-Nicoya (other Costa Rican regions, n = 47) using the Infinium HumanMethylation450 microarray.

RESULTS:

We observed a number of differences that may be markers of delayed aging, such as bioinformatically derived differential CD8+ T cell proportions. Additionally, both site- and region-specific analyses revealed DNA methylation patterns unique to Nicoyans. We also observed lower overall variability in DNA methylation in the Nicoyan population, another hallmark of younger biological age.

CONCLUSIONS:

Nicoyans represent an interesting group of individuals who may possess unique immune cell proportions as well as distinct differences in their epigenome, at the level of DNA methylation.

KEYWORDS:

Biodemography; DNA methylation; Epigenetic age; Epigenetics; Immune aging; Longevity

PMID:
28465725
PMCID:
PMC5408416
DOI:
10.1186/s13072-017-0128-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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