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Panni, Tommaso; Mehta, Amar J.; Schwartz, Joel D.; Baccarelli, Andrea A.; Just, Allan C.; Wolf, Kathrin; Wahl, Simone; Cyrys, Josef; Kunze, Sonja; Strauch, Konstantin; Waldenberger, Melanie; Peters, Annette (2016): Genome-Wide Analysis of DNA Methylation and Fine Particulate Matter Air Pollution in Three Study Populations: KORA F3, KORA F4, and the Normative Aging Study. In: Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 124, No. 7: pp. 983-990


BACKGROUND: Epidemiological studies have reported associations between particulate matter (PM) concentrations and cancer and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. DNA methylation has been identified as a possible link but so far it has only been analyzed in candidate sites. OBJECTIVES: We studied the association between DNA methylation and short-and mid-term air pollution exposure using genome-wide data and identified potential biological pathways for-additional investigation. METHODS: We collected whole blood samples from three independent studies-KORA F3 (2004-2005) and F4 (2006-2008) in Germany, and the Normative Aging Study (1999-2007) in the United States-and measured genome-wide DNA methylation proportions with the Illumina 450k BeadChip. PM concentration was measured daily at fixed monitoring stations and three different trailing averages were considered and regressed against DNA methylation: 2-day, 7-day and 28-day. Meta-analysis was performed to pool the study-specific results. RESULTS: Random-effect meta-analysis revealed 12 CpG (cytosine-guanine dinucleotide) sites as associated with PM concentration (1 for 2-day average, 1 for 7-day, and 10 for 28-day) at a genome-wide Bonferroni significance level (p <= 7.5E-8);9 out of these 12 sites expressed increased methylation. Through estimation of I-2 for homogeneity assessment across the studies, 4 of these sites (annotated in NSMAF, Clorf212, MSGN1, NXN) showed p > 0.05 and I-2< 0.5: the site from the 7-day average results and 3 for the 28-day average. Applying false discovery rate, p-value < 0.05 was observed in 8 and 1,819 additional CpGs at 7- and 28-day average PM2.5 exposure respectively. CONCLUSION: The PM-related CpG sites found in our study suggest novel plausible systemic pathways linking ambient PM exposure to adverse health effect through variations in DNA methylation.