Gaseous air pollutants and DNA methylation in a methylome-wide association study of an ethnically and environmentally diverse population of U.S. adults.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Epigenetic mechanisms may underlie air pollution-health outcome associations. We estimated gaseous air pollutant-DNA methylation (DNAm) associations using twelve subpopulations within Women's Health Initiative (WHI) and Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) cohorts (n = 8397; mean age 61.3 years; 83% female; 46% African-American, 46% European-American, 8% Hispanic/Latino). We used geocoded participant address-specific mean ambient carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NO2; NOx), ozone (O3), and sulfur dioxide (SO2) concentrations estimated over the 2-, 7-, 28-, and 365-day periods before collection of blood samples used to generate Illumina 450 k array leukocyte DNAm measurements. We estimated methylome-wide, subpopulation- and race/ethnicity-stratified pollutant-DNAm associations in multi-level, linear mixed-effects models adjusted for sociodemographic, behavioral, meteorological, and technical covariates. We combined stratum-specific estimates in inverse variance-weighted meta-analyses and characterized significant associations (false discovery rate; FDR<0.05) at Cytosine-phosphate-Guanine (CpG) sites without among-strata heterogeneity (PCochran's Q > 0.05). We attempted replication in the Cooperative Health Research in Region of Augsburg (KORA) study and Normative Aging Study (NAS). We observed a -0.3 (95% CI: -0.4, -0.2) unit decrease in percent DNAm per interquartile range (IQR, 7.3 ppb) increase in 28-day mean NO2 concentration at cg01885635 (chromosome 3; regulatory region 290 bp upstream from ZNF621; FDR = 0.03). At intragenic sites cg21849932 (chromosome 20; LIME1; intron 3) and cg05353869 (chromosome 11; KLHL35; exon 2), we observed a -0.3 (95% CI: -0.4, -0.2) unit decrease (FDR = 0.04) and a 1.2 (95% CI: 0.7, 1.7) unit increase (FDR = 0.04), respectively, in percent DNAm per IQR (17.6 ppb) increase in 7-day mean ozone concentration. Results were not fully replicated in KORA and NAS. We identified three CpG sites potentially susceptible to gaseous air pollution-induced DNAm changes near genes relevant for cardiovascular and lung disease. Further harmonized investigations with a range of gaseous pollutants and averaging durations are needed to determine the effect of gaseous air pollutants on DNA methylation and ultimately gene expression.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Holliday, KM; Gondalia, R; Baldassari, A; Justice, AE; Stewart, JD; Liao, D; Yanosky, JD; Jordahl, KM; Bhatti, P; Assimes, TL; Pankow, JS; Guan, W; Fornage, M; Bressler, J; North, KE; Conneely, KN; Li, Y; Hou, L; Vokonas, PS; Ward-Caviness, CK; Wilson, R; Wolf, K; Waldenberger, M; Cyrys, J; Peters, A; Boezen, HM; Vonk, JM; Sayols-Baixeras, S; Lee, M; Baccarelli, AA; Whitsel, EA

Published Date

  • September 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 212 / Pt C

Start / End Page

  • 113360 -

PubMed ID

  • 35500859

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1096-0953

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.envres.2022.113360


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Netherlands