Effects of age, sex, and persistent organic pollutants on DNA methylation in children.
ABSTRACT: Epigenetic changes such as DNA methylation may be a molecular mechanism through which environmental exposures affect health. Methylation of Alu and long interspersed nucleotide elements (LINE-1) is a well-established measure of DNA methylation often used in epidemiologic studies. Yet, few studies have examined the effects of host factors on LINE-1 and Alu methylation in children. We characterized the relationship of age, sex, and prenatal exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs), dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane (DDT), dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), with DNA methylation in a birth cohort of Mexican-American children participating in the CHAMACOS study. We measured Alu and LINE-1 methylation by pyrosequencing bisulfite-treated DNA isolated from whole blood samples collected from newborns and nine-year old children (n?=?358). POPs were measured in maternal serum during late pregnancy. Levels of DNA methylation were lower in nine-year olds compared to newborns and were higher in boys compared to girls. Higher prenatal DDT/E exposure was associated with lower Alu methylation at birth, particularly after adjusting for cell type composition (P?=?0.02 for o,p' -DDT). Associations of POPs with LINE-1 methylation were only identified after examining the co-exposure of DDT/E with PBDEs simultaneously. Our data suggest that repeat element methylation can be an informative marker of epigenetic differences by age and sex and that prenatal exposure to POPs may be linked to hypomethylation in fetal blood. Accounting for co-exposure to different types of chemicals and adjusting for blood cell types may increase sensitivity of epigenetic analyses for epidemiological studies.
Project description:An emerging body of evidence indicates that early-life arsenic (As) exposure may influence the trajectory of health outcomes later in life. However, the mechanisms underlying these observations are unknown.The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of prenatal As exposure on global methylation of cord blood DNA in a study of mother/newborn pairs in Matlab, Bangladesh.Maternal and cord blood DNA were available from a convenience sample of 101 mother/newborn pairs. Measures of As exposure included maternal urinary As (uAs), maternal blood As (mbAs) and cord blood As (cbAs). Several measures of global DNA methylation were assessed, including the [3H]-methyl-incorporation assay and three Pyrosequencing assays: Alu, LINE-1 and LUMA.In the total sample, increasing quartiles of maternal uAs were associated with an increase in covariate-adjusted means of newborn global DNA methylation as measured by the [3H]-methyl-incorporation assay (quartile 1 (Q1) and Q2 vs. Q4; p?=?0.06 and 0.04, respectively). Sex-specific linear regression analyses, while not reaching significance level of 0.05, indicated that the associations between As exposures and Alu, LINE-1 and LUMA were positive among male newborns (N?=?58) but negative among female newborns (N?=?43); tests for sex differences were borderline significant for the association of cbAs and mbAs with Alu (p?=?0.05 and 0.09, respectively) and for the association between maternal uAs and LINE-1 (p?=?0.07). Sex-specific correlations between maternal urinary creatinine and newborn methyl-incorporation, Alu and LINE-1 were also evident (p<0.05).These results suggest that prenatal As exposure is associated with global DNA methylation in cord blood DNA, possibly in a sex-specific manner. Arsenic-induced epigenetic modifications in utero may potentially influence disease outcomes later in life. Additional studies are needed to confirm these findings and to examine the persistence of DNA methylation marks over time.
Project description:Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) that bioaccumulate in lipid-rich tissues are of concern as developmental neurotoxicants. Epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation act at the interface of genetic and environmental factors implicated in autism-spectrum disorders. The relationship between POP levels and DNA methylation patterns in individuals with and without neurodevelopmental disorders has not been previously investigated. In this study, a total of 107 human frozen postmortem brain samples were analyzed for eight PCBs and seven PBDEs by GC-micro electron capture detector and GC/MS using negative chemical ionization. Human brain samples were grouped as neurotypical controls (n = 43), neurodevelopmental disorders with known genetic basis (n = 32, including Down, Rett, Prader-Willi, Angelman, and 15q11-q13 duplication syndromes), and autism of unknown etiology (n = 32). Unexpectedly, PCB 95 was significantly higher in the genetic neurodevelopmental group, but not idiopathic autism, as compared to neurotypical controls. Interestingly, samples with detectable PCB 95 levels were almost exclusively those with maternal 15q11-q13 duplication (Dup15q) or deletion in Prader-Willi syndrome. When sorted by birth year, Dup15q samples represented five out of six of genetic neurodevelopmental samples born after the 1976 PCB ban exhibiting detectable PCB 95 levels. Dup15q was the strongest predictor of PCB 95 exposure over age, gender, or year of birth. Dup15q brain showed lower levels of repetitive DNA methylation measured by LINE-1 pyrosequencing, but methylation levels were confounded by year of birth. These results demonstrate a novel paradigm by which specific POPs may predispose to genetic copy number variation of 15q11-q13.
Project description:Phthalates are frequently used in personal care products and plasticizers and phthalate exposure is ubiquitous in the US population. Exposure to phthalates during critical periods in utero has been associated with a variety of adverse health outcomes but the biological mechanisms linking these exposures with disease are not well characterized. In this study, we examined the relationship of in utero phthalate exposure with repetitive element DNA methylation, an epigenetic marker of genome instability, in children from the longitudinal birth cohort CHAMACOS. Methylation of Alu and long interspersed nucleotide elements (LINE-1) was determined using pyrosequencing of bisulfite-treated DNA isolated from whole blood samples collected from newborns and 9 year old children (n=355). Concentrations of eleven phthalate metabolites were measured in urine collected from pregnant mothers at 13 and 26 weeks gestation. We found a consistent inverse association between prenatal concentrations of monoethyl phthalate, the most frequently detected urinary metabolite, with cord blood methylation of Alu repeats (?(95%CI): -0.14 (-0.28,0.00) and -0.16 (-0.31, -0.02)) for early and late pregnancy, respectively, and a similar but weaker association with LINE-1 methylation. Additionally, increases in urinary concentrations of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate metabolites during late pregnancy were associated with lower levels of methylation of Alu repeats in 9 year old blood (significant p-values ranged from 0.003 to 0.03). Our findings suggest that prenatal exposure to some phthalates may influence differences in repetitive element methylation, highlighting epigenetics as a plausible biological mechanism through which phthalates may affect health.
Project description:The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and thyroid hormones in an aging population. Forty-eight women and 66 men, aged 55-74 years and living in upper Hudson River communities completed a questionnaire and provided blood specimens. Serum was analyzed for thyrotropin (thyroid stimulating hormone, TSH), free (fT4) and total thyroxine (T4), total triiodothyronine (T3), and for POPs. POPs included 39 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) determined by gas chromatography with electron capture detection (GC-ECD), and nine polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) determined by high-resolution gas chromatography with high-resolution mass spectrometry detection (HRGC-HRMS). Multivariable linear regression analysis was used to evaluate associations between thyroid hormones and sums of POPs, adjusted for covariates and stratified by sex. Effects were expressed as differences in thyroid hormone levels associated with a doubling in the level of exposure. Among women, DDT+DDE increased T4 by 0.34?g/dL (P=0.04) and T3 by 2.78ng/dL (P=0.05). Also in women, sums of PCBs in conjunction with PBDEs elicited increases of 24.39-80.85ng/dL T3 (P<0.05), and sums of PCBs in conjunction with DDT+DDE elicited increases of 0.18-0.31?g/dL T4 (P<0.05). For men estrogenic PCBs were associated with a 19.82ng/dL T3 decrease (P=0.003), and the sum of estrogenic PCBs in conjunction with DDT+DDE elicited an 18.02ng/dL T3 decrease (P=0.04). Given age-related declines in physiologic reserve, the influence of POPs on thyroid hormones in aging populations may have clinical implications and merits further investigation.
Project description:Studies measuring dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) exposure during key windows of susceptibility including the intrauterine period suggest that DDT exposure is associated with breast cancer risk. We hypothesized that prenatal DDT exposure is associated with DNA methylation. Using prospective data from 316 daughters in the Child Health and Development Study, we examined the association between prenatal exposure to DDTs and DNA methylation in blood collected in midlife (mean age: 49 years). To identify differentially methylated regions (DMRs) associated with markers of DDTs (p,p'-DDT and the primary metabolite of p,p'-DDT, p,p'-DDE, and o,p'-DDT, the primary constituents of technical DDT), we measured methylation in 30 genes important to breast cancer. We observed DDT DMRs in three genes, CCDC85A, CYP1A1 and ZFPM2, each of which has been previously implicated in pubertal development and breast cancer susceptibility. These findings suggest prenatal DDT exposure may have life-long consequence through alteration in genes relevant to breast cancer.
Project description:Current knowledge on adverse endocrine disruption effects of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) among newborn infants is limited and often controversial. To investigate the associations between prenatal exposure to major POPs and thyroid hormone levels among newborn infants, both cord serum or maternal serum concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) were compared with five thyroid hormones in cord serum of newborn infants as well as TSH in bloodspot collected at 2 day after birth (n=104). Since cord serum thyroid hormones could be affected by those of mothers, thyroid hormone concentrations of the matching mothers at delivery were adjusted. In cord serum, BDE-47, -99, and ?chlordane (CHD) showed significant positive associations with cord or bloodspot TSH. At the same time, p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE) and hexachlorbenzene (HCB) showed negative associations with total T3 and total T4 in cord serum, respectively. Maternal exposure to ?-hexachlorhexane (?-HCH), ?CHD, ?DDT, or p,p'-DDE were also associated with neonatal thyroid hormones. Although the sample size is small and the thyroid hormone levels of the subjects were within the reference range, our observation supports thyroid disrupting potential of several POPs among newborn infants, at the levels occurring in the general population. Considering the importance of thyroid hormones during gestation and early life stages, health implication of thyroid hormone effects by low level POPs exposure deserves further follow up investigations.
Project description:Although exposure to ambient air pollutants increases cardiovascular disease risk in adults little is known about the effects of prenatal exposure. Genetic variation and epigenetic alterations are two mechanisms that may influence the effects of early-life exposures on cardiovascular phenotypes.We investigated whether genetic and epigenetic variation modify associations between prenatal air pollution on markers of cardiovascular risk in childhood.We used linear regression analysis to investigate the associations between prenatal pollutants (PM2.5, PM10, NO2, O3), long interspersed nuclear elements (LINE1) and AluYb8 DNA methylation levels measured in newborn blood spot tests, and carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and blood pressure (BP) in 459 participants as part of the Children's Health Study. Interaction terms were also included to test for effect modification of these associations by genetic variation in methylation reprogramming genes.Prenatal exposure to NO2 in the third trimester of pregnancy was associated with higher systolic BP in 11-year-old children. Prenatal exposure to multiple air pollutants in the first trimester was associated with lower DNA methylation in LINE1, whereas later exposure to O3 was associated with higher LINE1 methylation levels in newborn blood spots. The magnitude of associations with prenatal air pollution varied according to genotype for 11 SNPs within DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1), DNA methyltransferase 3 Beta (DNMT3B), Tet methylcytosine dioxygenase 2 (TET2), and Thymine DNA glycosylase (TDG) genes. Although first-trimester O3 exposure was not associated with CIMT and systolic BP overall, associations within strata of DNMT1 or DNMT3B were observed, and the magnitude and the direction of these associations depended on DNMT1 genotypes.Genetic and epigenetic variation in DNA methylation reprogramming genes and in LINE1 retrotransposons may play important roles in downstream cardiovascular consequences of prenatal air pollution exposure. Citation: Breton CV, Yao J, Millstein J, Gao L, Siegmund KD, Mack W, Whitfield-Maxwell L, Lurmann F, Hodis H, Avol E, Gilliland FD. 2016. Prenatal air pollution exposures, DNA methyl transferase genotypes, and associations with newborn LINE1 and Alu methylation and childhood blood pressure and carotid intima-media thickness in the Children's Health Study. Environ Health Perspect 124:1905-1912;?http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/EHP181.
Project description:Benzene, a known human carcinogen, and methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity, are fuel-related pollutants. This study investigated the effect of these chemicals on epigenetic and transcriptional alterations in DNA repetitive elements. In 89 petrol station workers and 90 non-occupationally exposed subjects the transcriptional activity of retrotransposons (LINE-1, Alu), the methylation on repeated-element DNA, and of H3K9 histone, were investigated in peripheral blood lymphocytes. Median work shift exposure to benzene and MTBE was 59 and 408 µg/m³ in petrol station workers, and 4 and 3.5 µg/m³, in controls. Urinary benzene (BEN-U), S-phenylmercapturic acid, and MTBE were significantly higher in workers than in controls, while trans,trans-muconic acid (tt-MA) was comparable between the two groups. Increased BEN-U was associated with increased Alu-Y and Alu-J expression; moreover, increased tt-MA was associated with increased Alu-Y and Alu-J and LINE-1 (L1)-5'UTR expression. Among repetitive element methylation, only L1-Pa5 was hypomethylated in petrol station workers compared to controls. While L1-Ta and Alu-YD6 methylation was not associated with benzene exposure, a negative association with urinary MTBE was observed. The methylation status of histone H3K9 was not associated with either benzene or MTBE exposure. Overall, these findings only partially support previous observations linking benzene exposure with global DNA hypomethylation.
Project description:The use of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) to prevent HIV mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy and delivery is generally considered safe. However, vigilant assessment of potential risks of these agents remains warranted. Epigenetic changes including DNA methylation are considered potential mechanisms linking the in utero environment with long-term health outcomes. Few studies have examined the epigenetic effects of prenatal exposure to pharmaceutical agents, including antiretroviral therapies, on children. In this study, we examined the methylation status of the LINE-1 and ALU-Yb8 repetitive elements as markers of global DNA methylation alteration in peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained from newborns participating in the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study SMARTT cohort of HIV-exposed, cART-exposed uninfected infants compared to a historical cohort of HIV-exposed, antiretroviral-unexposed infants from the Women and Infants Transmission Study Cohort. In linear regression models controlling for potential confounders, we found the adjusted mean difference of AluYb8 methylation of the cART-exposed compared to the -unexposed was -0.568 (95% CI: -1.023, -0.149) and for LINE-1 methylation was -1.359 (95% CI: -1.860, -0.857). Among those exposed to cART, subjects treated with atazanavir (ATV), compared to those on other treatments, had less AluYb8 methylation (-0.524, 95% CI: -0.025, -1.024). Overall, these results suggest a small but statistically significant reduction in the methylation of these repetitive elements in an HIV-exposed, cART-exposed cohort compared to an HIV-exposed, cART-unexposed historic cohort. The potential long-term implications of these differences are worthy of further examination.
Project description:Epigenetic changes are a potential mechanism contributing to race/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in health. However, there is scant evidence of the race/ethnic and socioeconomic patterning of epigenetic marks. We used data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis Stress Study (N?=?988) to describe age- and gender-independent associations of race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status (SES) with methylation of Alu and LINE-1 repetitive elements in leukocyte DNA. Mean Alu and Line 1 methylation in the full sample were 24% and 81% respectively. In multivariable linear regression models, African-Americans had 0.27% (p<0.01) and Hispanics 0.20% (p<0.05) lower Alu methylation than whites. In contrast, African-Americans had 0.41% (p<0.01) and Hispanics 0.39% (p<0.01) higher LINE-1 methylation than whites. These associations remained after adjustment for SES. In addition, a one standard deviation higher wealth was associated with 0.09% (p<0.01) higher Alu and 0.15% (p<0.01) lower LINE-1 methylation in age- and gender-adjusted models. Additional adjustment for race/ethnicity did not alter this pattern. No associations were observed with income, education or childhood SES. Our findings, from a large community-based sample, suggest that DNA methylation is socially patterned. Future research, including studies of gene-specific methylation, is needed to understand better the opposing associations of Alu and LINE-1 methylation with race/ethnicity and wealth as well as the extent to which small methylation changes in these sequences may influence disparities in health.