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Environ Int. 2018 Oct;119:250-263. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2018.06.024. Epub 2018 Jul 5.

Multi-generational impacts of arsenic exposure on genome-wide DNA methylation and the implications for arsenic-induced skin lesions.

Author information

1
School of Public Health, Inner Mongolia Medical University, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China; School of Public Health & Management, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China.
2
Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA.
3
Department of Biochemistry, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA.
4
School of Public Health, Inner Mongolia Medical University, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China.
5
Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA.
6
School of Public Health & Management, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China.
7
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Wuyuan County, Inner Mongolia, China.
8
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Hangjinhouqi County, Inner Mongolia, China.
9
School of Public Health, Inner Mongolia Medical University, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China; Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA. Electronic address: xuefengr@buffalo.edu.

Abstract

As a nonmutagenic human carcinogen, arsenic (As)'s carcinogenic activity is likely the result of epigenetic changes, particularly alterations in DNA methylation. While increasing studies indicate a potentially important role for timing of As exposure on DNA methylation patterns and the subsequent differential risks for As toxicity and carcinogenesis, there is a lack of research that tackles these critical questions, particularly in human based populations. Here we reported a family-based study including three generations, in which each generation living in the same household had a distinctive timing of As exposure: in adulthood, in utero and during early childhood, and in germlines exposure for grandparents, parents, and grandchildren, respectively. We generated genome-wide DNA methylation data for 18 As-exposed families, nine control families, as well as 18 arsenical skin lesion patients. Our analysis showed that As exposure may leave detectable DNA methylation changes even though exposure occurred decades ago, and the most significant changes of global DNA methylation were observed among patients afflicted with arsenical skin lesions. As exposure across generations shared common differentially methylated DNA loci and regions (744 DML and 15 DMRs) despite the distinctive exposure timing in each generation. Importantly, based on these DML, clustering analysis grouped skin lesion patients together with grandparents in exposed families in the same cluster, separated from grandparents in control families. Further analysis identified a number of DML and several molecular pathways that were significantly distinguished between controls, exposed populations, as well as skin lesion patients. Finally, our exploratory analysis suggested that some of these DML altered by As exposure, may have the potential to be inherited affecting not only those directly exposed but also later generations. Together, our results suggest that common DML and/or DMRs associated with an increased risk for disease development could be identified regardless of when exposure to As occurred during their life span, and thus may be able to serve as biomarkers for identifying individuals at risk for As-induced skin lesions and possible cancers.

KEYWORDS:

Arsenic exposure; Arsenic-induced skin lesions; Epigenetic inheritance; Global and genome-wide DNA methylation; Multi-generational epigenetic effect

PMID:
29982128
PMCID:
PMC6143427
[Available on 2019-10-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.envint.2018.06.024

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