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Biology 2014, 3(2), 403-425; doi:10.3390/biology3020403

Causes and Consequences of Age-Related Changes in DNA Methylation: A Role for ROS?

1 Science Department, University College Utrecht, Campusplein 1, 3584 ED Utrecht, The Netherlands 2 Faculty of Science, University of Utrecht, Padualaan 8, 3584 CH Utrecht, The Netherlands
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 May 2014 / Revised: 28 May 2014 / Accepted: 31 May 2014 / Published: 18 June 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue DNA Methylation)
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Recent genome-wide analysis of C-phosphate-G (CpG) sites has shown that the DNA methylome changes with increasing age, giving rise to genome-wide hypomethylation with site‑specific incidences of hypermethylation. This notion has received a lot of attention, as it potentially explains why aged organisms generally have a higher risk of age-related diseases. However, very little is known about the mechanisms that could cause the occurrence of these changes. Moreover, there does not appear to be a clear link between popular theories of aging and alterations in the methylome. Some of the most fruitful of these theories attribute an important role to reactive oxygen species, which seem to be responsible for an increase in oxidative damage to macromolecules, such as DNA, during the lifetime of an organism. In this review, the connection between changes in DNA methylation and these reactive oxygen species is discussed, as well as the effect of these changes on health. Deeper insights into the nature, causes and consequences of the aging methylome might provide a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms of aging and eventually contribute to the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic tools.
Keywords: DNA methylation; methylcytosine; aging; reactive oxygen species; mechanisms DNA methylation; methylcytosine; aging; reactive oxygen species; mechanisms
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Rang, F.J.; Boonstra, J. Causes and Consequences of Age-Related Changes in DNA Methylation: A Role for ROS? Biology 2014, 3, 403-425.

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