, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 169–179 | Cite as

Global DNA methylation in old subjects is correlated with frailty

  • Dina Bellizzi
  • Patrizia D’Aquila
  • Alberto Montesanto
  • Andrea Corsonello
  • Vincenzo Mari
  • Bruno Mazzei
  • Fabrizia Lattanzio
  • Giuseppe PassarinoEmail author


Epigenetic variations have been widely described to occur during the aging process. To verify if these modifications are correlated with the inter-individual phenotypic variability of elderly people, we searched for a correlation between global DNA methylation levels and frailty. We found that the global DNA methylation levels were correlated to the frailty status in middle/advanced-aged subjects but not with age. A 7-year follow-up study also revealed that a worsening in the frailty status was associated to a significant decrease in the global DNA methylation levels. These results suggest that the relaxation of the epigenetic control in aging is specifically associated with the functional decline rather than with the chronological age of individuals. Thus, the modifications of DNA methylation, representing a drawbridge between the genetic and the environmental factors affecting the age-related decay of the organism, may play an important role in determining physiological changes over old age.


Frailty Global DNA methylation Epigenetics Aging 



The work was supported by Fondi di Ateneo of the University of Calabria. AM was supported financially by a fellowship (assegno di ricerca) of the University of Calabria.


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Copyright information

© American Aging Association 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dina Bellizzi
    • 1
  • Patrizia D’Aquila
    • 1
  • Alberto Montesanto
    • 1
  • Andrea Corsonello
    • 2
  • Vincenzo Mari
    • 2
  • Bruno Mazzei
    • 2
  • Fabrizia Lattanzio
    • 3
  • Giuseppe Passarino
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Cell BiologyUniversity of CalabriaRendeItaly
  2. 2.Italian National Research Center on AgingCosenzaItaly
  3. 3.Italian National Research Center on AgingAnconaItaly

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