DNA methylation and childhood asthma in the inner city

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Ivana V YangDavid A Schwartz

Abstract

Epigenetic marks are heritable, influenced by the environment, direct the maturation of T lymphocytes, and in mice enhance the development of allergic airway disease. Thus it is important to define epigenetic alterations in asthmatic populations. We hypothesize that epigenetic alterations in circulating PBMCs are associated with allergic asthma. We compared DNA methylation patterns and gene expression in inner-city children with persistent atopic asthma versus healthy control subjects by using DNA and RNA from PBMCs. Results were validated in an independent population of asthmatic patients. Comparing asthmatic patients (n = 97) with control subjects (n = 97), we identified 81 regions that were differentially methylated. Several immune genes were hypomethylated in asthma, including IL13, RUNX3, and specific genes relevant to T lymphocytes (TIGIT). Among asthmatic patients, 11 differentially methylated regions were associated with higher serum IgE concentrations, and 16 were associated with percent predicted FEV1. Hypomethylated and hypermethylated regions were associated with increased and decreased gene expression, respectively (P < 6 × 10(-12) for asthma and P < .01 for IgE). We further explored the relationship between DNA me...Continue Reading

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