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Environ Sci Technol. 2018 May 1;52(9):5427-5437. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b06447. Epub 2018 Apr 11.

DNA Methylome Marks of Exposure to Particulate Matter at Three Time Points in Early Life.

Author information

Centre for Environmental Sciences , Hasselt University , Hasselt , Belgium.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The School of Public Health , Imperial College London , London , United Kingdom.
Medical Research Council-Health Protection Agency Centre for Environment and Health , Imperial College London , London , United Kingdom.
Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Division of Environmental Epidemiology , Utrecht University , Utrecht , The Netherlands.
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) , 150 Cours Albert-Thomas , 69008 Lyon , France.
Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology , Barcelona , Spain.
Consortium for Biomedical Research in Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP) , Madrid , Spain.
ISGlobal, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) , Barcelona , Spain.
Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) , Barcelona, Catalonia , Spain.
Department of Preventive Medicine , University of Southern California , Los Angeles , California 90007 , United States.
Department of Social Medicine , University of Crete , Heraklion, Crete , Greece.
IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute) , Barcelona , Spain.
Environment & Health Unit Leuven University , Leuven , Belgium.
Cancer Epidemiology Unit-CERMS, Department of Medical Sciences , University of Turin and CPO-Piemonte , Torino , Italy.
Department of Epidemiology of the Lazio Regional Health Service , Rome , Italy.
MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, Department of Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School , University of Bristol , Bristol , U.K.
Department of Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School , University of Bristol , Bristol , U.K.
IIGM, Italian Institute for Genomic Medicine , Turin , Italy.


Maternal exposure to airborne particulate matter (PM) has been associated with restricted fetal growth and reduced birthweight. Here, we performed methylome-wide analyses of cord and children's blood DNA in relation to residential exposure to PM smaller than 10 μm (PM10). This study included participants of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood (ALSPAC, cord blood, n = 780; blood at age 7, n = 757 and age 15-17, n = 850) and the EXPOsOMICS birth cohort consortium including cord blood from ENVIR ONAGE ( n = 197), INMA ( n = 84), Piccolipiù ( n = 99) and Rhea ( n = 75). We could not identify significant CpG sites, by meta-analyzing associations between maternal PM10 exposure during pregnancy and DNA methylation in cord blood, nor by studying DNA methylation and concordant annual exposure at 7 and 15-17 years. The CpG cg21785536 was inversely associated with PM10 exposure using a longitudinal model integrating the three studied age groups (-1.2% per 10 μg/m3; raw p-value = 3.82 × 10-8). Pathway analyses on the corresponding genes of the 100 strongest associated CpG sites of the longitudinal model revealed enriched pathways relating to the GABAergic synapse, p53 signaling and NOTCH1. We provided evidence that residential PM10 exposure in early life affects methylation of the CpG cg21785536 located on the EGF Domain Specific O-Linked N-Acetylglucosamine Transferase gene.


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