Comparative genome-wide DNA methylation analysis in myocardial tissue from donors with and without Down syndrome.

Cejas, Romina BWang, JieHageman-Blair, RachaelLiu, SongBlanco, Javier G


There is a lot of variation in the Down syndrome population driven by the genome-wide imbalances caused by the full or partial copy of chromosome 21 in their DNA. A common variation is that of myocardial tissue, the muscle of the heart. This study analyzes myocardial tissue from those born with DS and highlights the genes associated with such issues, providing a better snapshot of variation for researchers' continued efforts.


Down syndrome (DS, trisomy 21) is the most common major chromosomal aneuploidy compatible with life. The additional whole or partial copy of chromosome 21 results in genome-wide imbalances that drive the complex pathobiology of DS. Differential DNA methylation in the context of trisomy 21 may contribute to the variable architecture of the DS phenotype. The goal of this study was to examine the genomic DNA methylation landscape in myocardial tissue from non-fetal individuals with DS. >480,000 unique CpG sites were interrogated in myocardial DNA samples from individuals with (n = 12) and without DS (n = 12) using DNA methylation arrays. A total of 93 highly differentially methylated CpG sites and 16 differentially methylated regions were identified in myocardial DNA from subjects with DS. There were 18 differentially methylated CpG sites in chromosome 21, including 5 highly differentially methylated sites. A CpG site in the RUNX1 locus was differentially methylated in DS myocardium, and linear regression suggests that donors' age, gender, DS status, and RUNX1 methylation may contribute up to ~51% of the variability in RUNX1 mRNA expression. In DS myocardium, only 58% of the genes overlapping with differentially methylated regions codify for proteins with known functions and 24% are non-coding RNAs. This study provides an initial snapshot on the extent of genome-wide differential methylation in myocardial tissue from persons with DS.