Methylome profiling of healthy and central precocious puberty girls

Danielle S. Bessa, Mariana Maschietto, Carlos Francisco Aylwin, Ana P.M. Canton, Vinicius N. Brito, Delanie B. Macedo, Marina Cunha-Silva, Heloísa M.C. Palhares, Elisabete A.M.R. de Resende, Maria de Fátima Borges, Berenice B. Mendonca, Irene Netchine, Ana C.V. Krepischi, Alejandro Lomniczi, Sergio R. Ojeda, Ana Claudia Latronico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Recent studies demonstrated that changes in DNA methylation (DNAm) and inactivation of two imprinted genes (MKRN3 and DLK1) alter the onset of female puberty. We aimed to investigate the association of DNAm profiling with the timing of human puberty analyzing the genome-wide DNAm patterns of peripheral blood leukocytes from ten female patients with central precocious puberty (CPP) and 33 healthy girls (15 pre- and 18 post-pubertal). For this purpose, we performed comparisons between the groups: pre- versus post-pubertal, CPP versus pre-pubertal, and CPP versus post-pubertal. RESULTS: Analyzing the methylome changes associated with normal puberty, we identified 120 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) when comparing pre- and post-pubertal healthy girls. Most of these DMRs were hypermethylated in the pubertal group (99%) and located on the X chromosome (74%). Only one genomic region, containing the promoter of ZFP57, was hypomethylated in the pubertal group. ZFP57 is a transcriptional repressor required for both methylation and imprinting of multiple genomic loci. ZFP57 expression in the hypothalamus of female rhesus monkeys increased during peripubertal development, suggesting enhanced repression of downstream ZFP57 target genes. Fourteen other zinc finger (ZNF) genes were related to the hypermethylated DMRs at normal puberty. Analyzing the methylome changes associated with CPP, we demonstrated that the patients with CPP exhibited more hypermethylated CpG sites compared to both pre-pubertal (81%) and pubertal (89%) controls. Forty-eight ZNF genes were identified as having hypermethylated CpG sites in CPP. CONCLUSION: Methylome profiling of girls at normal and precocious puberty revealed a widespread pattern of DNA hypermethylation, indicating that the pubertal process in humans is associated with specific changes in epigenetically driven regulatory control. Moreover, changes in methylation of several ZNF genes appear to be a distinct epigenetic modification underlying the initiation of human puberty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146
Number of pages1
JournalClinical epigenetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 22 2018


  • Central precocious puberty
  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetics
  • Genomic imprinting
  • Human puberty
  • Zinc finger genes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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