Identification, Heritability, and Relation With Gene Expression of Novel DNA Methylation Loci for Blood Pressure

Yisong Huang, Miina Ollikainen, Maheswary Muniandy, Tao Zhang, Jenny van Dongen, Guang Hao, Peter J. van Der Most, Yue Pan, Natalia Pervjakova, Yan Sun, Qin Hui, Jari Lahti, Eliza Fraszczyk, Xueling Lu, Dianjianyi Sun, Melissa A. Richard, Gonneke Willemsen, Kauko Heikkila, Irene Mateo Leach, Nina MononenMika Kahonen, Mikko A. Hurme, Olli T. Raitakari, Amanda J. Drake, Markus Perola, Marja-Liisa Nuotio, Yunfeng Huang, Batbayar Khulan, Katri Raikkonen, Bruce H. R. Wolffenbuttel, Alexandra Zhernakova, Jingyuan Fu, Haidong Zhu, Yanbin Dong, Jana V. van Vliet-Ostaptchouk, Lude Franke, Johan G. Eriksson, Myriam Fornage, Lili Milani, Terho Lehtimaki, Viola Vaccarino, Dorret Boomsma, Pim van Der Harst, Eco J. C. de Geus, Veikko Salomaa, Shengxu Li, Wei Chen, Shaoyong Su, James Wilson, Harold Snieder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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We conducted an epigenome-wide association study meta-analysis on blood pressure (BP) in 4820 individuals of European and African ancestry aged 14 to 69. Genome-wide DNA methylation data from peripheral leukocytes were obtained using the Infinium Human Methylation 450k BeadChip. The epigenome-wide association study meta-analysis identified 39 BP-related CpG sites with P<1×10-5. In silico replication in the CHARGE consortium of 17 010 individuals validated 16 of these CpG sites. Out of the 16 CpG sites, 13 showed novel association with BP. Conversely, out of the 126 CpG sites identified as being associated (P<1×10-7) with BP in the CHARGE consortium, 21 were replicated in the current study. Methylation levels of all the 34 CpG sites that were cross-validated by the current study and the CHARGE consortium were heritable and 6 showed association with gene expression. Furthermore, 9 CpG sites also showed association with BP with P<0.05 and consistent direction of the effect in the meta-analysis of the Finnish Twin Cohort (199 twin pairs and 4 singletons; 61% monozygous) and the Netherlands Twin Register (266 twin pairs and 62 singletons; 84% monozygous). Bivariate quantitative genetic modeling of the twin data showed that a majority of the phenotypic correlations between methylation levels of these CpG sites and BP could be explained by shared unique environmental rather than genetic factors, with 100% of the correlations of systolic BP with cg19693031 (TXNIP) and cg00716257 (JDP2) determined by environmental effects acting on both systolic BP and methylation levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-205
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2020


  • blood pressure
  • DNA methylation
  • epigenome
  • hypertension
  • Twin study

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