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J Am Heart Assoc. 2019 Nov 5;8(21):e013228. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.119.013228. Epub 2019 Oct 23.

Epigenome-Wide Association Study for All-Cause Mortality in a Cardiovascular Cohort Identifies Differential Methylation in Castor Zinc Finger 1 (CASZ1).

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Duke Molecular Physiology Institute Duke University School of Medicine Duke University Durham NC.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Duke University Durham NC.
Division of Cardiology Department of Medicine Duke University School of Medicine Durham NC.


Background DNA methylation is implicated in many chronic diseases and may contribute to mortality. Therefore, we conducted an epigenome-wide association study (EWAS) for all-cause mortality with whole-transcriptome data in a cardiovascular cohort (CATHGEN [Catheterization Genetics]). Methods and Results Cases were participants with mortality≥7 days postcatheterization whereas controls were alive with≥2 years of follow-up. The Illumina Human Methylation 450K and EPIC arrays (Illumina, San Diego, CA) were used for the discovery and validation sets, respectively. A linear model approach with empirical Bayes estimators adjusted for confounders was used to assess difference in methylation (Δβ). In the discovery set (55 cases, 49 controls), 25 629 (6.5%) probes were differently methylated (P<0.05). In the validation set (108 cases, 108 controls), 3 probes were differentially methylated with a false discovery rate-adjusted P<0.10: cg08215811 (SLC4A9; log2 fold change=-0.14); cg17845532 (MATK; fold change=-0.26); and cg17944110 (castor zinc finger 1 [CASZ1]; FC=0.26; P<0.0001; false discovery rate-adjusted P=0.046-0.080). Meta-analysis identified 6 probes (false discovery rate-adjusted P<0.05): the 3 above, cg20428720 (intergenic), cg17647904 (NCOR2), and cg23198793 (CAPN3). Messenger RNA expression of 2 MATK isoforms was lower in cases (fold change=-0.24 [P=0.007] and fold change=-0.61 [P=0.009]). The CASZ1, NCOR2, and CAPN3 transcripts did not show differential expression (P>0.05); the SLC4A9 transcript did not pass quality control. The cg17944110 probe is located within a potential regulatory element; expression of predicted targets (using GeneHancer) of the regulatory element, UBIAD1 (P=0.01) and CLSTN1 (P=0.03), were lower in cases. Conclusions We identified 6 novel methylation sites associated with all-cause mortality. Methylation in CASZ1 may serve as a regulatory element associated with mortality in cardiovascular patients. Larger studies are necessary to confirm these observations.


cardiac biomarkers; epigenetics; mortality; outcome; transcriptome

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