Large, genome-wide quantitative evaluation of DNA methylation associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) reveals several genes with strong biological evidence for differential methylation. RNA-Seq analysis was performed using Partek® Flow® and Partek® Genomics Suite® to confirm the functional role of differential methylation in ELMO1 and PRKAG2. Findings were validated by functional enrichment using Partek® Pathway™. These results could be the first step toward identifying epigenetic therapies for CKD.
Genetic risk factors for chronic kidney disease (CKD) are being identified through international collaborations. By comparison, epigenetic risk factors for CKD have only recently been considered using population-based approaches. DNA methylation is a major epigenetic modification that is associated with complex diseases, so we investigated methylome-wide loci for association with CKD. A total of 485,577 unique features were evaluated in 255 individuals with CKD (cases) and 152 individuals without evidence of renal disease (controls). Following stringent quality control, raw data were quantile normalized and β values calculated to reflect the methylation status at each site. The difference in methylation status was evaluated between cases and controls with resultant P values adjusted for multiple testing. Genes with significantly increased and decreased levels of DNA methylation were considered for biological relevance by functional enrichment analysis using KEGG pathways in Partek Genomics Suite. Twenty-three genes, where more than one CpG per loci was identified with Padjusted<10(-8), demonstrated significant methylation changes associated with CKD and additional support for these associated loci was sought from published literature. Strong biological candidates for CKD that showed statistically significant differential methylation include CUX1, ELMO1, FKBP5, INHBA-AS1, PTPRN2, and PRKAG2 genes; several genes are differentially methylated in kidney tissue and RNA-seq supports a functional role for differential methylation in ELMO1 and PRKAG2 genes. This study reports the largest, most comprehensive, genome-wide quantitative evaluation of DNA methylation for association with CKD. Evidence confirming methylation sites influence development of CKD would stimulate research to identify epigenetic therapies that might be clinically useful for CKD. Access paper