Title: Exposure to polybrominated biphenyl and stochastic epigenetic mutations: application of a novel epigenetic approach to environmental exposure in the Michigan polybrominated biphenyl registry.
Authors: Curtis, Sarah W; Cobb, Dawayland O; Kilaru, Varun; Terrell, Metrecia L; Marder, M Elizabeth; Barr, Dana Boyd; Marsit, Carmen J; Marcus, Michele; Conneely, Karen N; Smith, Alicia K
Published In Epigenetics, (2019 10)
Abstract: Endocrine-disrupting compounds are associated with altered epigenetic regulation and adverse health outcomes, although inconsistent results suggest that people have varied responses to the same exposure. Interpersonal variation in response to environmental exposures is not identified using standard, population-based methods. However, methods that capture an individual's response, such as analyzing stochastic epigenetic mutations (SEMs), may capture currently missed effects of environmental exposure. To test whether polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) was associated with SEMs, DNA methylation was measured using Illumina's MethylationEPIC array in PBB-exposed individuals, and SEMs were identified. Association was tested using a linear regression with robust sandwich variance estimators, controlling for age, sex, lipids, and cell types. The number of SEMs was variable (range: 119-18,309), and positively associated with age (p = 1.23e-17), but not with sex (p = 0.97). PBBs and SEMs were only positively associated in people who were older when they were exposed (p = 0.02 vs. p = 0.91). Many subjects had SEMs enriched in biological pathways, particularly in pathways involved with xenobiotic metabolism and endocrine function. Higher number of SEMs was also associated with higher age acceleration (intrinsic: p = 1.70e-3; extrinsic: p = 3.59e-11), indicating that SEMs may be associated with age-related health problems. Finding an association between environmental contaminants and higher SEMs may provide insight into individual differences in response to environmental contaminants, as well as into the biological mechanism behind SEM formation. Furthermore, these results suggest that people may be particularly vulnerable to epigenetic dysregulation from environmental exposures as they age.
PubMed ID: 31200609
MeSH Terms: Adult; Age Factors; Aged; Cohort Studies; DNA Methylation/drug effects*; Environmental Exposure/adverse effects; Epigenesis, Genetic/drug effects; Female; Genome-Wide Association Study; Humans; Linear Models; Male; Michigan; Middle Aged; Mutation*; Polybrominated Biphenyls/adverse effects*; Whole Genome Sequencing/methods*