Genetic architecture of epigenetic and neuronal ageing rates in human brain regions
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Identifying genes regulating the pace of epigenetic ageing represents a new frontier in genome-wide association studies (GWASs). Here using 1,796 brain samples from 1,163 individuals, we carry out a GWAS of two DNA methylation-based biomarkers of brain age: the epigenetic ageing rate and estimated proportion of neurons. Locus 17q11.2 is significantly associated (P=4.5 × 10(-9)) with the ageing rate across five brain regions and harbours a cis-expression quantitative trait locus for EFCAB5 (P=3.4 × 10(-20)). Locus 1p36.12 is significantly associated (P=2.2 × 10(-8)) with epigenetic ageing of the prefrontal cortex, independent of the proportion of neurons. Our GWAS of the proportion of neurons identified two genome-wide significant loci (10q26 and 12p13.31) and resulted in a gene set that overlaps significantly with sets found by GWAS of age-related macular degeneration (P=1.4 × 10(-12)), ulcerative colitis (P<1.0 × 10(-20)), type 2 diabetes (P=2.8 × 10(-13)), hip/waist circumference in men (P=1.1 × 10(-9)), schizophrenia (P=1.6 × 10(-9)), cognitive decline (P=5.3 × 10(-4)) and Parkinson's disease (P=8.6 × 10(-3)).
The study was supported by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and by the National Institutes of Health (NIA/NIH 5R01AG042511-02). The Religious Order Study (GWAS data sets 6 and 7) was supported by National Institutes of Health (NIAGADS P30AG10161, R01AG15819, AG/NIA NIH R01AG17917 and AG/NIA NIH HHS R01AG36042).
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Vol. 8, article 15353
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