(ORDO NEWS) — Chronological age is a risk factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19. Previous data indicate that epigenetic age can be altered by viral infection.
However, epigenetic aging in COVID-19 has not been well studied. In this study, DNA methylation in blood samples from 232 healthy individuals and 413 patients with COVID-19 was profiled using the EPIC methylation array.
The epigenetic age of each individual is determined by applying the epigenetic clock and telomere length estimator to the individual’s methylation profile. The acceleration of epigenetic age is calculated and a comparison is made between groups.
We observe a strong correlation between the epigenetic clock and the individual’s chronological age (r > 0.8, p < 0.0001).
We also found a progressive acceleration of epigenetic aging and telomere depletion in serial blood samples from healthy individuals and infected patients who develop mild to severe COVID-19.
In addition, a longitudinal analysis of DNA methylation profiling has shown that the accumulation of epigenetic aging in COVID-19 syndrome can be partially reversed in the advanced stages of the clinic in some patients.
In conclusion, accelerated epigenetic aging is associated with the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the development of severe COVID-19.
In addition, the accumulation of epigenetic aging from COVID-19 may contribute to the development of post-COVID-19 syndrome among survivors
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