Identification and validation of seven new loci showing differential DNA methylation related to serum lipid profile: an epigenome-wide approach. The REGICOR study.
Lipid traits (total, low-density and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides) are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. DNA methylation is not only an inherited but also modifiable epigenetic mark that has been related to cardiovascular risk factors. Our aim was to identify loci showing differential DNA methylation related to serum lipid levels. Blood DNA methylation was assessed using the Illumina Human Methylation 450 BeadChip. A two-stage epigenome-wide association study was performed, with a discovery sample in the REGICOR study (n?=?645) and validation in the Framingham Offspring Study (n?=?2,542). Fourteen CpG sites located in nine genes (SREBF1, SREBF2, PHOSPHO1, SYNGAP1, ABCG1, CPT1A, MYLIP, TXNIP and SLC7A11) and 2 intergenic regions showed differential methylation in association with lipid traits. Six of these genes and 1 intergenic region were new discoveries showing differential methylation related to total cholesterol (SREBF2), HDL-cholesterol (PHOSPHO1, SYNGAP1 and an intergenic region in chromosome 2) and triglycerides (MYLIP, TXNIP and SLC7A11). These CpGs explained 0.7%, 9.5% and 18.9% of the variability of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the Framingham Offspring Study, respectively. The expression of the genes SREBF2 and SREBF1 was inversely associated with methylation of their corresponding CpGs (P-value?=?0.0042 and 0.0045, respectively) in participants of the GOLDN study (n?=?98). In turn, SREBF1 expression was directly associated with HDL cholesterol (P-value?=?0.0429). Genetic variants in SREBF1, PHOSPHO1, ABCG1 and CPT1A were also associated with lipid profile. Further research is warranted to functionally validate these new loci and assess the causality of new and established associations between these differentially methylated loci and lipid metabolism.