Human epigenetic variation is associated with both environmental exposures and allergic diseases and can potentially serve as a biomarker connecting climate change with allergy and airway diseases. In this narrative review, we summarize recent human epigenetic studies examining exposure to temperature, precipitation, extreme weather events, and malnutrition to discuss findings as they relate to allergic and airway diseases. Temperature has been the most widely studied exposure, with the studies implicating both short-term and long-term exposures with epigenetic alterations and epigenetic aging. Few studies have examined natural disasters or extreme weather events. The studies available have reported differential DNA methylation of multiple genes and pathways, some of which were previously associated with asthma or allergy. Few studies have integrated climate-related events, epigenetic biomarkers, and allergic disease together. Prospective longitudinal studies are needed along with the collection of target tissues beyond blood samples, such as nasal and skin cells. Finally, global collaboration to increase diverse representation of study participants, particularly those most affected by climate injustice, as well as strengthen replication, validation, and harmonization of measurements will be needed to elucidate the impacts of climate change on the human epigenome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1060-1072
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • Climate change
  • DNA methylation
  • allergy
  • atopic disease
  • atopy
  • epigenetic clocks
  • epigenetics
  • epigenomics
  • extreme weather
  • malnutrition
  • precipitation
  • temperature


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