Short- and intermediate-term exposure to ambient fine particulate elements and leukocyte epigenome-wide DNA methylation in older men: the Normative Aging Study

Citation:

Cuicui Wang, Andres Cardenas, John N Hutchinson, Allan Just, Jonathan Heiss, Lifang Hou, Yinan Zheng, Brent A Coull, Anna Kosheleva, Petros Koutrakis, Andrea A Baccarelli, and Joel D Schwartz. 2021. “Short- and intermediate-term exposure to ambient fine particulate elements and leukocyte epigenome-wide DNA methylation in older men: the Normative Aging Study.” Environ Int, 158, Pp. 106955.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Several epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) of ambient particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter ≤ 2.5 µm (PM2.5) have been reported. However, EWAS of PM2.5 elements (PEs), reflecting different emission sources, are very limited. OBJECTIVES: We performed EWAS of short- and intermediate-term exposure to PM2.5 and 13 PEs. We hypothesized that significant changes in DNAm may vary by PM2.5 mass and its elements. METHODS: We repeatedly collected blood samples in the Normative Aging Study and measured leukocyte DNA methylation (DNAm) with the Illumina HumanMethylation450K BeadChip. We collected daily PM2.5 and 13 PEs at a fixed central site. To estimate the associations between each PE and DNAm at individual cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) sites, we incorporated a distributed-lag (0-27 d) term in the setting of median regression with subject-specific intercept and examined cumulative lag associations. We also accounted for selection bias due to loss to follow-up and mortality prior to enrollment. Significantly differentially methylated probes (DMPs) were identified using Bonferroni correction for multiple testing. We further conducted regional and pathway analyses to identify significantly differentially methylated regions (DMRs) and pathways. RESULTS: We included 695 men with 1,266 visits between 1999 and 2013. The subjects had a mean age of 75 years. The significant DMPs, DMRs, and pathways varied by to PM2.5 total mass and PEs. For example, PM2.5 total mass was associated with 2,717 DMPs and 10,470 DMRs whereas Pb was associated with 3,173 DMPs and 637 DMRs. The identified pathways by PM2.5 mass were mostly involved in mood disorders, neuroplasticity, immunity, and inflammation, whereas the pathways associated with motor vehicles (BC, Cu, Pb, and Zn) were related with cardiovascular disease and cancer (e.g., "PPARs signaling"). CONCLUSIONS: PM2.5 and PE were associated with methylation changes at multiple probes and along multiple pathways, in ways that varied by particle components.