Analysis of systemic epigenetic alterations in inflammatory bowel disease: defining geographical, genetic, and immune-inflammatory influences on the circulating methylome.
Kalla R., Adams AT., Nowak JK., Bergemalm D., Vatn S., Ventham NT., Kennedy NA., Ricanek P., Lindstrom J., IBD-Character Consortium None., Söderholm J., Pierik M., D'Amato M., Gomollón F., Olbjorn C., Richmond R., Relton CL., Jahnsen J., Vatn MH., Halfvarson J., Satsangi J.
BACKGROUND: Epigenetic alterations may provide valuable insights into gene-environment interactions play in the pathogenesis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). METHODS: Genome-wide methylation was measured from peripheral blood using the Illumina 450k platform in a case-control study in an inception cohort (295 controls, 154 CD, 161 UC, 28 IBD-U) with covariates of age, sex, and cell counts, deconvoluted by the Houseman method. Genotyping was performed using Illumina HumanOmniExpressExome-8 BeadChips and gene expression using Ion AmpliSeq Human Gene Expression Core Panel. Treatment escalation was characterised by the need for biological agents or surgery after initial disease remission. RESULTS: A total of 137 differentially methylated positions (DMP) were identified in IBD, including VMP1/MIR21 (p=9.11×10 -15) and RPS6KA2 (6.43×10 -13); with consistency seen across Scandinavia and UK. Dysregulated loci demonstrate strong genetic influence, notably VMP1 (p=1.53×10 -15). Age acceleration is seen in IBD (coefficient 0.94, p<2.2x10 -16). Several immuno-active genes demonstrated highly significant correlations between methylation and gene expression in IBD, in particular OSM: IBD r -0.32, p 3.64×10 -7 vs. non-IBD r -0.14, p=0.77). Multi-omic integration of methylome, genome and transcriptome also implicate specific pathways that associate with immune activation, response and regulation at disease inception. At follow up, a signature of 3 DMPs (TAP1, TESPA1, RPTOR) associated with treatment escalation to biological agents or surgery (hazard ratio of 5.19 (CI:2.14-12.56, logrank p=9.70×10 -4). CONCLUSION: These data demonstrate consistent epigenetic alterations at diagnosis in European patients with IBD, providing insights into the pathogenetic importance and translational potential of epigenetic mapping in complex disease.