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Clin Epigenetics. 2019 Aug 30;11(1):129. doi: 10.1186/s13148-019-0726-x.

Particulate matter exposure shapes DNA methylation through the lifespan.

Author information

1
EPIGET-Epidemiology, Epigenetics and Toxicology Lab, Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, Università degli Studi di Milano, via San Barnaba 8, 20122, Milan, Italy.
2
EPIGET-Epidemiology, Epigenetics and Toxicology Lab, Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, Università degli Studi di Milano, via San Barnaba 8, 20122, Milan, Italy. valentina.bollati@unimi.it.

Abstract

Exposure to airborne particulate matter (PM) has been associated with detrimental health effects. DNA methylation represents the most well-studied epigenetic factor among the possible mechanisms underlying this association. Interestingly, changes of DNA methylation in response to environmental stimuli are being considered for their role in the pathogenic mechanism, but also as mediators of the body adaptation to air pollutants.Several studies have evaluated both global and gene-specific methylation in relation to PM exposure in different clinical conditions and life stages. The purpose of the present literature review is to evaluate the most relevant and recent studies in the field in order to analyze the available evidences on long- and short-term PM exposure and DNA methylation changes, with a particular focus on the different life stages when the alteration occurs. PM exposure modulates DNA methylation affecting several biological mechanisms with marked effects on health, especially during susceptible life stages such as pregnancy, childhood, and the older age.Although many cross-sectional investigations have been conducted so far, only a limited number of prospective studies have explored the potential role of DNA methylation. Future studies are needed in order to evaluate whether these changes might be reverted.

KEYWORDS:

DNA methylation; Environmental exposures; Particulate matter

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