Reduced DNA methylation of FKBP5 in Cushing’s syndrome

Eugenia Resmini, Alicia Santos, Anna Aulinas, Susan M. Webb, Yolanda Vives-Gilabert, Olivia Cox, Gary Wand, Richard S. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York. FKBP5 encodes a co-chaperone of HSP90 protein that regulates intracellular glucocorticoid receptor sensitivity. When it is bound to the glucocorticoid receptor complex, cortisol binds with lower affinity to glucocorticoid receptor. Cushing’s syndrome is associated with memory deficits, smaller hippocampal volumes, and wide range of cognitive impairments. We aimed at evaluating blood DNA methylation of FKBP5 and its relationship with memory and hippocampal volumes in Cushing’s syndrome patients. Polymorphism rs1360780 in FKBP5 has also been assessed to determine whether genetic variations can also govern CpG methylation. Thirty-two Cushing’s syndrome patients and 32 matched controls underwent memory tests, 3-Tesla MRI of the brain, and DNA extraction from total leukocytes. DNA samples were bisulfite treated, PCR amplified, and pyrosequenced to assess a total of 41CpG-dinucleotides in the introns 1, 2, 5, and 7 of FKBP5. Significantly lower intronic FKBP5 DNA methylation in CS patients compared to controls was observed in ten CpG-dinucleotides. DNA methylation at these CpGs correlated with left and right HV (Intron-2-Region-2-CpG-3: LHV, r = 0.73, p = 0.02; RHV, r = 0.58, p = 0.03). Cured and active CS patients showed both lower methylation of intron 2 (92.37, 91.8, and 93.34 %, respectively, p = 0.03 for both) and of intron 7 (77.08, 73.74, and 79.71 %, respectively, p = 0.02 and p < 0.01) than controls. Twenty-two subjects had the CC genotype, 34 had the TC genotype, and eight had the TT genotype. Lower average DNA methylation in intron 7 was observed in the TT subjects compared to CC (72.5vs. 79.5 %, p = 0.02) and to TC (72.5 vs. 79.0 %, p = 0.03). Our data demonstrate, for the first time, a reduction of intronic DNA methylation of FKBP5 in CS patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)768-777
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • 3Tesla MRI
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • FKBP5 DNA methylation
  • FKBP5 polymorphism
  • Glucocorticoid resistance
  • Hypercortisolism


Dive into the research topics of 'Reduced DNA methylation of FKBP5 in Cushing’s syndrome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this