Journal Article Sex differences of leukocytes DNA methylation adjusted for estimated cellular proportions

Inoshita, Masatoshi  ,  Numata, Shusuke  ,  Tajima, Atsushi  ,  Kinoshita, Makoto  ,  Umehara, Hidehiro  ,  Yamamori, Hidenaga  ,  Hashimoto, Ryota  ,  Imoto, Issei  ,  Ohmori, Tetsuro

6 ( 1 )  , p.11 , 2015-06-25 , BioMed Central
Background: DNA methylation, which is most frequently the transference of a methyl group to the 5-carbon position of the cytosine in a CpG dinucleotide, plays an important role in both normal development and diseases. To date, several genome-wide methylome studies have revealed sex-biased DNA methylation, yet no studies have investigated sex differences in DNA methylation by taking into account cellular heterogeneity. The aim of the present study was to investigate sex-biased DNA methylation on the autosomes in human blood by adjusting for estimated cellular proportions because cell-type proportions may vary by sex. Methods: We performed a genome-wide DNA methylation profiling of the peripheral leukocytes in two sets of samples, a discovery set (49 males and 44 females) and a replication set (14 males and 10 females) using Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChips for 485,764 CpG dinucleotides and then examined the effect of sex on DNA methylation with a multiple linear regression analysis after adjusting for age, the estimated 6 cell-type proportions, and the covariates identified in a surrogate variable analysis. Results: We identified differential DNA methylation between males and females at 292 autosomal CpG site loci in the discovery set (Bonferroni-adjusted p < 0.05). Of these 292 CpG sites, significant sex differences were also observed at 98 sites in the replication set (p < 0.05). Conclusions: These findings provided further evidence that DNA methylation may play a role in the differentiation or maintenance of sexual dimorphisms. Our methylome mapping of the effects of sex may be useful to understanding the molecular mechanism involved in both normal development and diseases. © 2015 Inoshita et al.

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