Twin study designs as a tool to identify new candidate genes for depression: A systematic review of DNA methylation studies

Publication date: Available online 14 February 2020Source: Neuroscience &Biobehavioral ReviewsAuthor(s): Helena Palma-Gudiel, Aldo Córdova-Palomera, Víctor Navarro, Lourdes FañanásAbstractMonozygotic (MZ) twin studies constitute a key resource for the dissection of environmental and biological risk factors for human complex disorders. Given that epigenetic differences accumulate throughout the lifespan, the assessment of MZ twin pairs discordant for depression offers a genetically informative design to explore DNA methylation while accounting for the typical confounders of the field, shared by co-twins of a pair. In this review, we systematically evaluate all twin studies published to date assessing DNA methylation in association with depressive phenotypes. However, difficulty to recruit large numbers of MZ twin pairs fails to provide enough sample size to develop genome-wide approaches. Alternatively, region and pathway analysis revealed an enrichment for nervous system related functions; likewise, evidence supports an accumulation of methylation variability in affected subjects when compared to their co-twins. Nevertheless, longitudinal studies incorporating known risk factors for depression such as childhood trauma are required for understanding the role that DNA methylation plays in the etiology of depression.
Source: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews - Category: Neuroscience Source Type: research

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