Schizophrenia is one of the major psychiatric disorders. It is a disorder of complex inheritance, involving both heritable and environmental factors. DNA methylation is an inheritable epigenetic modification that stably alters gene expression. We reasoned that genetic modifications that are a result of environmental stimuli could also make a contribution.
We have performed 26 high-resolution genomewide methylation array analyses to determine the methylation status of 27,627 CpG islands and compared the data between patients and healthy controls. Methylation profiles of DNAs were analyzed in six pools: 220 schizophrenia patients; 220 age-matched healthy controls; 110 female schizophrenia patients; 110 age-matched healthy females; 110 male schizophrenia patients; 110 age-matched healthy males. We also investigated the methylation status of 20 individual patient DNA samples (eight females and 12 males. We found significant differences in the methylation profile between schizophrenia and control DNA pools.
We found new candidate genes that principally participate in apoptosis, synaptic transmission and nervous system development (GABRA2, LIN7B, CASP3). Methylation profiles differed between the genders. In females, the most important genes participate in apoptosis and synaptic transmission (XIAP, GABRD, OXT, KRT7), whereas in the males, the implicated genes in the molecular pathology of the disease were DHX37, MAP2K2, FNDC4 and GIPC1. Data from the individual methylation analyses confirmed, the gender-specific pools results.
Our data revealed major differences in methylation profiles between schizophrenia patients and controls and between male and female patients. The dysregulated activity of the candidate genes could play a role in schizophrenia pathogenesis.
BEN is a primary, chronic tubulointerstitial nephritis characterized with chronic anemia, absence of edema, xantoderma, normal blood pressure and normal findings on the fundus oculi. The disease is distributed in restricted areas in Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Bosnia, Former Yugoslavia. Despite numerous studies on genetic and environmental factors and their possible involvement in BEN, its etiopathogenesis still remains elusive.
Our recent study aim to elucidate the possible epigenetic component in BEN development. Whole genome DNA array methylation analysis was applied to compare the methylation profiles of male and female BEN patients from endemic regions in Bulgaria and Serbia and healthy controls.
All three most prominent candidate genes with aberrations in the epigenetic profile discovered with this study are involved in the inflammatory/immune processes and oncogenesis. These data are in concordance with the reported pathological alterations in BEN. This research supports the role of epigenetic changes in BEN pathology.
Exome sequencing of 22.000 genes with Illumina Nextera Exome Enrichment Kit revealed three mutant genes (CELA1, HSPG2, and KCNK5) in BEN patients which encode proteins involved in basement membrane/extracellular matrix and vascular tone, tightly connected to process of angiogenesis. We suggest that an abnormal process of angiogenesis plays a key role in the molecular pathogenesis of BEN.