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Epigenetics in the Aging Process

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00242255
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : October 19, 2005
Last Update Posted : December 28, 2017
Information provided by (Responsible Party):

Study Description
Brief Summary:

This study will examine the role of epigenetics (heritable changes in gene function that occur without a change in DNA sequence) in the aging process. DNA is the primary genetic material, responsible for transmitting information from one cell to the next or from one generation to the next. A second layer of heredity is described by the term "epigenetics."

Epigenetic information is reset from one generation to the next. It works in two ways: 1) by modification of the DNA, like balloons stuck at irregular intervals onto the sides of the DNA helix that encodes genes, and 2) through specialized protein shells that wrap around some regions of DNA. As in DNA, these shells can copy themselves and can transmit instructions. Because they are used to turn genes on and off, errors in their settings cause critical misinformation to be transmitted.

Aging involves many changes, such as muscle weakening, graying hair, skin wrinkling, and so forth. There are several current theories of aging, including damage to genes by oxidation, shortening of tiny structures at the ends of chromosomes called telomeres, and the ability to stretch lifespan with caloric restrictions. This study will investigate the possible role of epigenetics in aging by examining and comparing the shell-like epigenetic settings in skin cells in young adults and older individuals. Preliminary results from earlier studies show differences in these settings in younger and older people.

Women between the ages of 21 and 30 years and 65 and 90 years who are undergoing breast reduction or mastectomy at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, may participate in this study. Tissue removed during surgery for pathological examination will also be used by researchers in this study to validate the preliminary findings noted above and to continue studies into the new area of epigenetics and aging.

Condition or disease

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Study Design

Study Type : Observational
Actual Enrollment : 15 participants
Official Title: Remodeling of Chromatin-Based Epigenetic Structures in Development and Aging
Study Start Date : November 1, 2005
Groups and Cohorts

Outcome Measures

Eligibility Criteria

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   14 Years to 90 Years   (Child, Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Age 21-30 or 65-90, female or male

Normal liver function, renal function adjusted for age

Written informed consent


Down's or other premature aging syndromes

Mastectomies: skin involvement in the malignant process or damage due to prior radiation therapy

Active skin infection

Skin damage due to photoaging will be noted but will not be a basis for exclusion

Contacts and Locations

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT00242255

United States, District of Columbia
GW University Medical Center
Washington, District of Columbia, United States, 20037
United States, Maryland
Suburban Hospital
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20814
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
United States, Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia, United States, 23284
Sponsors and Collaborators
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Principal Investigator: Bruce H Howard, M.D. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
More Information

Additional Information:
Responsible Party: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00242255     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 060010
First Posted: October 19, 2005    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: December 28, 2017
Last Verified: December 20, 2017

Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) ):
Tissue Sample