BackgroundCOVID-19 has a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations and given its impact on morbidity and mortality, there is an unmet medical need to discover endogenous cellular and molecular biomarkers that predict the expected clinical course of the disease. Recently, epigenetics and especially DNA methylation have been pointed out as a promising tool for outcome prediction in several diseases.Methods and resultsUsing the Illumina Infinium Methylation EPIC BeadChip850K, we investigated genome-wide differences in DNA methylation in an Italian Cohort of patients with comorbidities and compared severe (n = 64) and mild (123) prognosis. Results showed that the epigenetic signature, already present at the time of Hospital admission, can significantly predict risk of severe outcomes. Further analyses provided evidence of an association between age acceleration and a severe prognosis after COVID-19 infection. The burden of Stochastic Epigenetic Mutation (SEMs) has been significantly increased in patients with poor prognosis. Results have been replicated in silico considering COVID-19 negative subjects and available previously published datasets.ConclusionsUsing original methylation data and taking advantage of already published datasets, we confirmed in the blood that epigenetics is actively involved in immune response after COVID-19 infection, allowing the identification of a specific signature able to discriminate the disease evolution. Furthermore, the study showed that epigenetic drift and age acceleration are associated with severe prognosis. All these findings prove that host epigenetics undergoes notable and specific rearrangements to respond to COVID-19 infection which can be used for a personalized, timely, and targeted management of COVID-19 patients during the first stages of hospitalization.

Role of epigenetics in the clinical evolution of COVID-19 disease. Epigenome-wide association study identifies markers of severe outcome

Inglese, Elvira;Cavagnola, Rebecca;Gentilini, Davide
2023-01-01

Abstract

BackgroundCOVID-19 has a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations and given its impact on morbidity and mortality, there is an unmet medical need to discover endogenous cellular and molecular biomarkers that predict the expected clinical course of the disease. Recently, epigenetics and especially DNA methylation have been pointed out as a promising tool for outcome prediction in several diseases.Methods and resultsUsing the Illumina Infinium Methylation EPIC BeadChip850K, we investigated genome-wide differences in DNA methylation in an Italian Cohort of patients with comorbidities and compared severe (n = 64) and mild (123) prognosis. Results showed that the epigenetic signature, already present at the time of Hospital admission, can significantly predict risk of severe outcomes. Further analyses provided evidence of an association between age acceleration and a severe prognosis after COVID-19 infection. The burden of Stochastic Epigenetic Mutation (SEMs) has been significantly increased in patients with poor prognosis. Results have been replicated in silico considering COVID-19 negative subjects and available previously published datasets.ConclusionsUsing original methylation data and taking advantage of already published datasets, we confirmed in the blood that epigenetics is actively involved in immune response after COVID-19 infection, allowing the identification of a specific signature able to discriminate the disease evolution. Furthermore, the study showed that epigenetic drift and age acceleration are associated with severe prognosis. All these findings prove that host epigenetics undergoes notable and specific rearrangements to respond to COVID-19 infection which can be used for a personalized, timely, and targeted management of COVID-19 patients during the first stages of hospitalization.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1477745
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