Title: Sex- and tissue-specific methylome changes in brains of mice perinatally exposed to lead.
Authors: Sánchez-Martín, Francisco Javier; Lindquist, Diana M; Landero-Figueroa, Julio; Zhang, Xiang; Chen, Jing; Cecil, Kim M; Medvedovic, Mario; Puga, Alvaro
Published In Neurotoxicology, (2015 Jan)
Abstract: Changes in DNA methylation and subsequent changes in gene expression regulation are the hallmarks of age- and tissue-dependent epigenetic drift and plasticity resulting from the combinatorial integration of genetic determinants and environmental cues. To determine whether perinatal lead exposure caused persistent DNA methylation changes in target tissues, we exposed mouse dams to 0, 3 or 30 ppm of lead acetate in drinking water for a period extending from 2 months prior to mating, through gestation, until weaning of pups at postnatal day-21, and analyzed whole-genome DNA methylation in brain cortex and hippocampus of 2-month old exposed and unexposed progeny. Lead exposure resulted in hypermethylation of three differentially methylated regions in the hippocampus of females, but not males. These regions mapped to Rn4.5s, Sfi1, and Rn45s loci in mouse chromosomes 2, 11 and 17, respectively. At a conservative fdr<0.001, 1623 additional CpG sites were differentially methylated in female hippocampus, corresponding to 117 unique genes. Sixty of these genes were tested for mRNA expression and showed a trend toward negative correlation between mRNA expression and methylation in exposed females but not males. No statistically significant methylome changes were detected in male hippocampus or in cortex of either sex. We conclude that exposure to lead during embryonic life, a time when the organism is most sensitive to environmental cues, appears to have a sex- and tissue-specific effect on DNA methylation that may produce pathological or physiological deviations from the epigenetic plasticity operative in unexposed mice.
PubMed ID: 25530354
MeSH Terms: Animals; Animals, Newborn; Brain/drug effects*; Brain/growth & development; Brain/metabolism*; Chromosome Mapping; CpG Islands/drug effects; DNA Methylation/drug effects*; Female; Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental/drug effects*; Lead/toxicity*; Male; Mice; Mice, Inbred C57BL; RNA, Messenger/metabolism; Sex Characteristics*