Lead exposure induces changes in 5-hydroxymethylcytosine clusters in CpG islands in human embryonic stem cells and umbilical cord blood

Arko Sen, Pablo Cingolani, Marie Claude Senut, Susan Land, Adriana Mercado-Garcia, Martha M. Tellez-Rojo, Andrea A. Baccarelli, Robert O. Wright, Douglas M. Ruden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

Prenatal exposure to neurotoxicants such as lead (Pb) may cause stable changes in the DNA methylation (5mC) profile of the fetal genome. However, few studies have examined its effect on the DNA de-methylation pathway, specifically the dynamic changes of the 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) profile. Therefore, in this study, we investigate the relationship between Pb exposure and 5mC and 5hmC modifications during early development. To study the changes in the 5hmC profile, we use a novel modification of the Infinium™ HumanMethylation450 assay (Illumina, Inc.), which we named HMeDIP-450K assay, in an in vitro human embryonic stem cell model of Pb exposure. We model Pb exposure-associated 5hmC changes as clusters of correlated, adjacent CpG sites, which are co-responding to Pb. We further extend our study to look at Pb-dependent changes in high density 5hmC regions in umbilical cord blood DNA from 48 mother-infant pairs from the Early Life Exposure in Mexico to Environmental Toxicants (ELEMENT) cohort. For our study, we randomly selected umbilical cord blood from 24 male and 24 female children from the 1st and 4th quartiles of Pb levels. Our data show that Pb-associated changes in the 5hmC and 5mC profiles can be divided into sex-dependent and sex-independent categories. Interestingly, differential 5mC sites are better markers of Pb-associated sex-dependent changes compared to differential 5hmC sites. In this study we identified several 5hmC and 5mC genomic loci, which we believe might have some potential as early biomarkers of prenatal Pb exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-621
Number of pages15
JournalEpigenetics
Volume10
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015

Keywords

  • 5-hydroxymethylcytosine
  • 5-methylcytosine
  • Clusters
  • CpG islands
  • HM450K
  • HMeDIP-450K
  • Lead
  • Umbilical cord blood

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