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class I histocompatibility antigen, C alpha chain precursor (HLA-C) (HLA-Cw) (Human leukocyte antigen C) [HLAC]


Epigenome-wide exploratory study of monozygotic twins suggests differentially methylated regions to associate with hand grip strength.

Hand grip strength is a measure of muscular strength and is used to study age-related loss of physical capacity. In order to explore the biological mechanisms that influence hand grip strength variation, an epigenome-wide association study (EWAS) of hand grip strength in 672 middle-aged and elderly monozygotic twins (age 55-90 years) was performed, using both individual and twin pair level analyses, the latter controlling the influence of genetic variation. Moreover, as measurements of hand grip strength performed over 8 years were available in the elderly twins (age 73-90 at intake), a longitudinal EWAS was conducted for this subsample. No genome-wide significant CpG sites or pathways were found, however two of the suggestive top CpG sites were mapped to the COL6A1 and CACNA1B genes, known to be related to muscular dysfunction. By investigating genomic regions using the comb-p algorithm, several differentially methylated regions in regulatory domains were identified as significantly associated to hand grip strength, and pathway analyses of these regions revealed significant pathways related to the immune system, autoimmune disorders, including diabetes type 1 and viral myocarditis, as well as negative regulation of cell differentiation. The genes contributing to the immunological pathways were HLA-B, HLA-C, HLA-DMA, HLA-DPB1, MYH10, ERAP1 and IRF8, while the genes implicated in the negative regulation of cell differentiation were IRF8, CEBPD, ID2 and BRCA1. In conclusion, this exploratory study suggests hand grip strength to associate with differentially methylated regions enriched in immunological and cell differentiation pathways, and hence merits further investigations.

MeSH Terms

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Cell Differentiation
  • CpG Islands
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DNA Methylation
  • Denmark
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Epigenome
  • Female
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Twins, Monozygotic


  • Comb-p
  • Epigenome-wide association study
  • Hand grip strength
  • Longitudinal data
  • Pathway analyses
  • Twin data

Cytomegalovirus-Specific T Cells Restricted by HLA-Cw*0702 Increase Markedly with Age and Dominate the CD8 T-Cell Repertoire in Older People.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection elicits a strong T-cell immune response, which increases further during aging in a process termed "memory inflation." CMV downregulates the expression of HLA-A and HLA-B on the surface of infected cells to limit presentation of viral peptides to T-cells although HLA-C is relatively spared as it also engages with inhibitory killer immunoglobulin receptor receptors and therefore reduces lysis by natural killer cells. We investigated the magnitude and functional properties of CMV-specific CD8 T-cells specific for 10 peptides restricted by HLA-C in a cohort of 53 donors between the age of 23 and 91 years. This was achieved [i]via[/i] peptide stimulation of PBMCs followed by multicolor flow cytometry. Three peptides, derived from proteins generated in the immediate-early period of viral replication and restricted by HLA-Cw*0702, elicited strong immune responses, which increased substantially with age such that the average aggregate response represented 37% of the CD8 T-cell pool within donors above 70 years of age. Remarkably, a single response represented 70% of the total CD8 T-cell pool within a 91-year-old donor. HLA-Cw*0702-restricted CD8 T-cell responses were immunodominant over HLA-A and HLA-B-restricted CMV-specific responses and did not show features of exhaustion such as PD-1 or CD39 expression. Indeed, such CTL exhibit a polyfunctional cytokine profile with co-expression of IFN-γ and TNF-α and a strong cytotoxic phenotype with intracellular expression of perforin and granzymeB. Functionally, HLA-Cw*0702-restricted CTL show exceptionally high avidity for cognate peptide-HLA and demonstrate very early and efficient recognition of virally infected cells. These observations indicate that CD8 T-cells restricted by HLA-C play an important role in the control of persistent CMV infection and could represent a novel opportunity for CD8 T-cell therapy of viral infection within immunosuppressed patients. In addition, the findings provide further evidence for the importance of HLA-C-restricted T-cells in the control of chronic viral infection.


  • HLA-Cw*0702
  • aging
  • cytomegalovirus-specific CD8 T cells
  • immediate-early antigen
  • memory inflation