Epigenetics is a mechanism underlying cardiovascular disease. It is unknown whether DNA hydroxymethylation is prospectively associated with the risk for cardiovascular death independent of germline and common environment. Male twin pairs middle-aged in 1969–1973 and discordant for cardiovascular death through December 31, 2014, were included. Hydroxymethyla-tion was quantified in buffy coat DNA collected in 1986–1987. The 1893 differentially hydroxymeth-ylated regions (DhMRs) were identified after controlling for blood leukocyte subtypes and age among 12 monozygotic (MZ) pairs (Benjamini–Hochberg False Discovery Rate < 0.01), of which the 102 DhMRs were confirmed with directionally consistent log2-fold changes and p < 0.01 among ad-ditional 7 MZ pairs. These signature 102 DhMRs, independent of the germline, were located on all chromosomes except for chromosome 21 and the Y chromosome, mainly within/overlapped with intergenic regions and introns, and predominantly hyper-hydroxymethylated. A binary linear classifier predicting cardiovascular death among 19 dizygotic pairs was identified and equivalent to that generated from MZ via the 2D transformation. Computational bioinformatics discovered path-ways, phenotypes, and DNA motifs for these DhMRs or their subtypes, suggesting that hy-droxymethylation was a pathophysiological mechanism underlying cardiovascular death that might be influenced by genetic factors and warranted further investigations of mechanisms of these signature regions in vivo and in vitro.
- Cardiovascular disease
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