DNA methylation patterns from peripheral blood separate coronary artery disease patients with and without heart failure

Christopher Bain, Mark Ziemann, Antony Kaspi, Abdul Waheed Khan, Rachael Taylor, Hugh Trahair, Ishant Khurana, Harikrishnan Kaipananickal, Sophie Wallace, Assam El-Osta, Paul S. Myles, Kiymet Bozaoglu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: Natriuretic peptides are useful for diagnosis and prognostication of heart failure of any cause. Now, research aims to discover novel biomarkers that will more specifically define the heart failure phenotype. DNA methylation plays a critical role in the development of cardiovascular disease with the potential to predict fundamental pathogenic processes. There is a lack of data relating DNA methylation in heart failure that specifically focuses on patients with severe multi-vessel coronary artery disease. To begin to address this, we conducted a pilot study uniquely exploring the utility of powerful whole-genome methyl-binding domain-capture sequencing in a cohort of cardiac surgery patients, matched for the severity of their coronary artery disease, aiming to identify candidate peripheral blood DNA methylation markers of ischaemic cardiomyopathy and heart failure. Methods and results: We recruited a cohort of 20 male patients presenting for coronary artery bypass graft surgery with phenotypic extremes of heart failure but who otherwise share a similar coronary ischaemic burden, age, sex, and ethnicity. Methylation profiling in patient blood samples was performed using methyl-binding domain-capture sequencing. Differentially methylated regions were validated using targeted bisulfite sequencing. Gene set enrichment analysis was performed to identify differences in methylation at or near gene promoters in certain known Reactome pathways. We detected 567 188 methylation peaks of which our general linear model identified 68 significantly differentially methylated regions in heart failure with a false discovery rate <0.05. Of these regions, 48 occurred within gene bodies and 25 were located near enhancer elements, some within coding genes and some in non-coding genes. Gene set enrichment analyses identified 103 significantly enriched gene sets (false discovery rate <0.05) in heart failure. Validation analysis of regions with the strongest differential methylation data was performed for two genes: HDAC9 and the uncharacterized miRNA gene MIR3675. Genes of particular interest as novel candidate markers of the heart failure phenotype with reduced methylation were HDAC9, JARID2, and GREM1 and with increased methylation PDSS2. Conclusions: We demonstrate the utility of methyl-binding domain-capture sequencing to evaluate peripheral blood DNA methylation markers in a cohort of cardiac surgical patients with severe multi-vessel coronary artery disease and phenotypic extremes of heart failure. The differential methylation status of specific coding genes identified are candidates for larger longitudinal studies. We have further demonstrated the value and feasibility of examining DNA methylation during the perioperative period to highlight biological pathways and processes contributing to complex phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2468-2478
Number of pages11
JournalESC Heart Failure
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Coronary artery bypass graft surgery
  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenome-wide association study
  • Heart failure
  • Ischaemic cardiomyopathy
  • Male

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