TITLE: “A Non-Invasive Epigenetic Measure of Inflammation.”
ABSTRACT: Existing epigenetic phenotype tests often lack mechanistic explanations of the observed correlations between specific methylation sites and phenotypes. This raises the crucial question: are these correlations primarily a result of marginal correlations, or do they stem from plausible biological mechanisms? To delve deeper into this question, we conducted a Targeted Epigenome Association Study focusing on CpG sites associated with aging, metabolism, and obesity. Our study leveraged a clinical investigation on fitness, encompassing comprehensive measurements of phenotypes, traditional biomarkers linked to metabolism, obesity, and fitness, as well as extensive profiling of hundreds of metabolites and proteins. Additionally, we had access to buccal swabs for targeted bisulfite sequencing. Our analysis discovered eight CpG sites exhibiting robust associations with the complement system, alongside indicators of adiposity and epithelial cell ratio found in the buccal swab samples. These sites reside within the region of the peptidoglycan recognition 1 gene promoter, a protein that senses inflammatory processes. This discovery sheds light on the intricate interplay between epigenetic markers with oral and systemic inflammation pathways.