The Genome-Wide DNA Methylation Profile of Peripheral Blood Is Not Systematically Changed by Short-Time Storage at Room Temperature

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Background: Epigenetic epidemiology has proven an important research discipline in the delineation of diseases of complex etiology. The approach, in such studies, is often to use bio-banked clinical material, however, many such samples were collected for purposes other than epigenetic studies and, thus, potentially not processed and stored appropriately. The Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC) includes more than 100,000 peripheral and umbilical cord blood samples shipped from maternity wards by ordinary mail in EDTA tubes. While this and other similar cohorts hold great promises for DNA methylation studies the potential systematic changes prompted by storage at ambient temperatures have never been assessed on a genome-wide level. Methods and Results: In this study, matched EDTA whole blood samples were stored up to three days at room temperature prior to DNA extraction and methylated DNA immunoprecipitation coupled with deep sequencing (MeDIP-seq). We established that the quality of the MeDIP-seq libraries was high and comparable across samples; and that the methylation profiles did not change systematically during the short-time storage at room temperature. Conclusion: The global DNA methylation profile is stable in whole blood samples stored for up to three days at room temperature in EDTA tubes making genome-wide methylation studies on such material feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

    Research areas

  • DNA methylation, MeDIP-seq, epigenetics, genome-wide, blood

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