New LIGA paper on DNA methylation in brain and periphery

Today, the LIGA team published results of a study investigating the correlation between DNA methylation (DNAm) profiles from specimen collected from human brain and buccal swabs. Due to the inaccessibility of brain tissue in humans, several studies use peripheral tissues such as blood, buccal swabs, and saliva as surrogates. To aid the functional interpretation of molecular findings in such settings, there is a need to assess the correlation of DNAm variability across tissues in the same individuals. In this study, which was spearheaded by LIGA PhD student Yasmine Sommerer, we performed a correlation analysis between DNAm data of a total of n = 120 matched post-mortem buccal and prefrontal cortex samples. Our analyses identified nearly 25,000 (3% of approximately 730,000) cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) sites showing significant correlations between buccal and PFC samples. Our novel buccal-brain DNAm correlation map provides a valuable resource for future epigenetic studies on brain phenotypes relating to the brain. The work was conducted in close collaboration with the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s disease Research Center in Boston, MA, and the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology at UKSH Campus-Kiel and published in the renowned journal Clinical Epigenetics.