The amount of 5-methylated cytosine (5 mC) in the sequence CmCGG has been measured in DNA extracted from uncultured peripheral blood human lymphocytes obtained from 24 young (mean age 25) and 22 old (mean age 75) individuals. When compared with the young group the old group had significantly reduced levels of 5 mC in total genomic DNA, in transcriptionally active DNA, and in genomic DNA from which transcriptionally active sequences had been removed. In both the young and old groups trabscriptionally active DNA contained 10% less 5 mC than the residual 'inactive' DNA. These results indicate that loss of genomic DNA methylation may be involved in aging in vivo and underscore the association of gene regulation with the distribution of methylation in DNA.
- Human lymphocytes