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Immunohorizons. 2019 Jul 2;3(7):274-281. doi: 10.4049/immunohorizons.1900042.

DNA Methylation Changes in Regional Lung Macrophages Are Associated with Metabolic Differences.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH 03756; Alix.Ashare@hitchcock.org.
2
Department of Epidemiology, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, NH 03756.
3
Department of Molecular and Systems Biology, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, NH 03756.
4
Department of Medicine, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH 03756.
5
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, NH 03756; and.
6
Department of Community and Family Medicine, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, NH 03756.

Abstract

A number of pulmonary diseases occur with upper lobe predominance, including cystic fibrosis and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In the healthy lung, several physiologic and metabolic factors exhibit disparity when comparing the upper lobe of the lung to lower lobe, including differences in oxygenation, ventilation, lymphatic flow, pH, and blood flow. In this study, we asked whether these regional differences in the lung are associated with DNA methylation changes in lung macrophages that could potentially lead to altered cell responsiveness upon subsequent environmental challenge. All analyses were performed using primary lung macrophages collected via bronchoalveolar lavage from healthy human subjects with normal pulmonary function. Epigenome-wide DNA methylation was examined via Infinium MethylationEPIC (850K) array and validated by targeted next-generation bisulfite sequencing. We observed 95 CpG loci with significant differential methylation in lung macrophages, comparing upper lobe to lower lobe (all false discovery rate < 0.05). Several of these genes, including CLIP4, HSH2D, NR4A1, SNX10, and TYK2, have been implicated as participants in inflammatory/immune-related biological processes. Functionally, we identified phenotypic differences in oxygen use, comparing upper versus lower lung macrophages. Our results support a hypothesis that epigenetic changes, specifically DNA methylation, at a multitude of gene loci in lung macrophages are associated with metabolic differences regionally in lung.

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