DNA methylation is very important in aging solutions.
DNA methylation is becoming recognized as a being associated with specific diseases, and also resulting in age related decline.
Its measurement is used as an important aging biomarker.
DNA methylation step-by-step — starting with the basics so non-scientists, and scientists working in different disciplines, can better understand this:
- DNA consists of sequences of the molecules adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine (represented as A, C, G, and T)
- CpG sites are DNA segments consisting of cytosine, followed by guanine. The “p” means “followed by”.
- So CpG = “C followed by G”.
- A methyl group is a specific type of molecule. Things like diet and toxins affect the creation of methyl groups.
- Methylation is when a methyl group becomes added to a CpG site
- Methylation typically acts to repress (turn off) gene transcription, although it can trigger transcription and have other effects
- It does this without changing the DNA sequence
- Some CpG sites should be methylated for good health, and human development is partly controlled by changing methylation over time.
- Methyl groups attached to a combination of specific CpG sites is called a methylation pattern.
- There is a DNA methylation pattern associated with youth.
- As we grow older, more CpG sites become methylated, so more genes are repressed (or there are other effects to DNA sequence) resulting in the negative effects of aging.
- Measuring the epigenetic clock is measuring methylation patterns to arrive at an individual’s biological age.
- Methylation at specific CpG sites are associated with specific diseases. So it’s a small step to see how methylation at specific sites can be associated with the effects, infirmaries and decline of aging – some or all of the following:
- Reduced strength, energy, and passion for life
- Faded appearance, aching bones, loss of productivity, decreased sex drive, declining memory, thinning grey hair, sagging skin
- Just plain feeling bad
- Research is underway to understand the molecular pathways of different therapies resulting in resetting the epigenetic clock to a more youthful pattern.
Next I’ll send more references, including references about the association of methylation with specific components and therapies — rapamycin, senolytics, telomeres etc.
And will try to get some specific CpG sites associated with specific diseases and the effects of aging.