[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Male germ cells require multiple epigenetic reprogramming events during their lifespan to achieve reproductive capacity. An emerging body of compelling data demonstrates that environmental exposures can be embodied within the developing male germ cell as epigenetic marks. In turn, these epigenetic marks can impart information at fertilization to affect the trajectory of offspring health and development. While it is recognized that in utero epigenetic reprogramming of male germ cells is a particularly susceptible window to environmental exposures, other such windows exist during germ cell development. The objective of this review is to discuss epigenetic reprogramming events during male germ cell development and to provide supporting evidence from animal and human studies that during specific periods of development, germ cells are susceptible to environmentally induced epigenetic errors. Moving forward, the nascent field of sperm epigenetics research is likely to advance our understanding of paternal environmental determinants of offspring health and development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Kidney disease is emerging as an arsenic (As)-linked disease outcome, however further evidence of this association is warranted. Our first objective for this paper was to examine the potential renal toxicity of As exposure in Bangladesh. Our second objective relates to examining whether the previously reported positive association between urinary creatinine (uCrn) and As methylation may be explained by renal function. We had hypothesized that these associations relate to supply and demand for s-adenosylmethionine, the methyl donor for both creatine synthesis and As methylation. Alternatively, renal function could influence both As and creatinine excretion, or the As metabolites may influence renal function, which in turn influences uCrn. We conducted a cross-sectional study (N = 478) of adults, composed of a sample recruited in 2001 and a sample recruited in 2003. We assessed renal function using plasma cystatin C, and calculated the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). Consistent with renal toxicity of As, log-uAs had a marginal inverse association with eGFR in the 2003 sample (b = -5.6, p = 0.07), however this association was not significant in the 2001 sample (b = -1.9, p = 0.24). Adjustment for eGFR did not alter the associations between uCrn and the %uAs metabolites, indicating that GFR does not explain these associations. Increased eGFR was associated with increased odds of having %uInAs >12.2% (2001: OR = 1.01, 95%CI (1.00,1.03); 2003: OR = 1.04, 95%CI (1.01,1.07)). In the 2003 sample only, there was a negative association between eGFR and %uDMA (b = -0.08, p = 0.02). These results may indicate differential effects of renal function on excretion of InAs and DMA. Alternatively, a certain methylation pattern, involving decreased %InAs and increased %DMA, may reduce renal function. Given that these studies were cross-sectional, we cannot distinguish between these two possibilities. Discrepancies between the samples may be due to the higher As exposure, poorer nutrition, and lower As methylation capacity in the 2003 sample.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The unique DNA packaging of spermatozoa renders them resistant to DNA isolation techniques used for somatic cells, requiring alternative methods that are slow and labor intensive. Here we present a rapid method for isolating high-quality sperm DNA. Isolated human sperm cells were homogenized with 0.2 mm steel beads for 5 min at room temperature in the presence of guanidine thiocyanate lysis buffer supplemented with 50 mM tris(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine (TCEP). Our method yielded >90% high-quality DNA using 3 different commercially available silica-based spin columns. DNA yields did not differ between immediate isolation (2.84 ± 0.04 pg/cell) and isolation after 2 weeks of homogenate storage at room temperature (2.91 ± 0.13 pg/cell). DNA methylation analyses revealed similar methylation levels at both time points for three imprinted loci. Our protocol has many advantages: it is conducted at room temperature; lengthy proteinase K (ProK) digestions are eliminated; the reducing agent, TCEP, is odorless and stable at room temperature; nucleic acids are stabilized, allowing storage of homogenate; and it is adaptable for other mammalian species. Taken together, the benefits of our improved method have important implications for settings where sample processing constraints exist.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We previously reported that methylmercury (MeHg) exposure is associated with DNA hypomethylation in the brain stem of male polar bears. Here, we conveniently use archived tissues obtained from controlled laboratory exposure studies to look for evidence that MeHg can disrupt DNA methylation across taxa. Brain (cerebrum) tissues from MeHg-exposed mink (Neovison vison), chicken (Gallus gallus) and yellow perch (Perca flavescens) were analyzed for total Hg levels and global DNA methylation. Tissues from chicken and mink, but not perch, were also analyzed for DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) activity. In mink we observed significant reductions in global DNA methylation in an environmentally-relevant dietary exposure group (1ppm MeHg), but not in a higher group (2ppm MeHg). DNMT activity was significantly reduced in all treatment groups. In chicken or yellow perch, no statistically significant effects of MeHg were observed. Dose-dependent trends were observed in the chicken data but the direction of the change was not consistent between the two endpoints. Our results suggest that MeHg can be epigenetically active in that it has the capacity to affect DNA methylation in mammals. The variability in results across species may suggest inter-taxa differences in epigenetic responses to MeHg, or may be related to differences among the exposure scenarios used as animals were exposed to MeHg through different routes (dietary, egg injection), for different periods of time (19-89days) and at different life stages (embryonic, juvenile, adult).
Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C Toxicology & Pharmacology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epigenetic changes are a potential mechanism contributing to race/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in health. However, there is scant evidence of the race/ethnic and socioeconomic patterning of epigenetic marks. We used data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis Stress Study (N = 988) to describe age- and gender- independent associations of race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status (SES) with methylation of Alu and LINE-1 repetitive elements in leukocyte DNA. Mean Alu and Line 1 methylation in the full sample were 24% and 81% respectively. In multivariable linear regression models, African-Americans had 0.27% (p<0.01) and Hispanics 0.20% (p<0.05) lower Alu methylation than whites. In contrast, African-Americans had 0.41% (p<0.01) and Hispanics 0.39% (p<0.01) higher LINE-1 methylation than whites. These associations remained after adjustment for SES. In addition, a one standard deviation higher wealth was associated with 0.09% (p<0.01) higher Alu and 0.15% (p<0.01) lower LINE-1 methylation in age- and gender- adjusted models. Additional adjustment for race/ethnicity did not alter this pattern. No associations were observed with income, education or childhood SES. Our findings, from a large community-based sample, suggest that DNA methylation is socially patterned. Future research, including studies of gene-specific methylation, is needed to understand better the opposing associations of Alu and LINE-1 methylation with race/ethnicity and wealth as well as the extent to which small methylation changes in these sequences may influence disparities in health.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and Aims
DNA methylation of repetitive elements may explain the relations among dietary intake, hyperhomocysteinemia, and cardiovascular disease risk. We investigated associations of methyl micronutrient intake and plasma total homocysteine with LINE-1 and Alu methylation in a cross-sectional study of 987 adults aged 45-84 y who participated in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) Stress Study.
Methods and Results
DNA methylation was estimated using pyrosequencing technology. A 120-item food frequency questionnaire was used to ascertain daily intake of folate, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, zinc, and methionine. Plasma total homocysteine was quantified using a fluorescence polarization immunoassay. Associations of micronutrient intake and homocysteine with LINE-1 and Alu methylation were examined using linear regression. Adjusted differences in %5-methylated cytosines (%5mC) were examined by categories of predictors using multivariable linear regression models. Intake of methyl-donor micronutrients was not associated with DNA methylation. After adjustment for covariates, each 3 μmol/L increment of homocysteine corresponded with 0.06 (-0.01, 0.13) %5mC higher LINE-1 methylation. Additionally, BMI was positively associated with LINE-1 methylation (P trend=0.03). Participants with BMI ≥40 kg/m2 had 0.35 (0.03, 0.67) %5mC higher LINE-1 than those with normal BMI. We also observed a 0.10 (0.02, 0.19) %5mC difference in Alu methylation per 10 cm of height. These associations did not differ by sex.
Dietary intake of methyl-donor micronutrients was not associated with measures of DNA methylation in our sample. However, higher BMI was related to higher LINE-1 methylation, and height was positively associated with Alu methylation.
No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases: NMCD
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In schizophrenia, metabolic syndrome incidence is double that of the general population, with women having a higher incidence. Pharmacogenetically regulated folic acid may be related to this risk. DNA methylation and metabolic syndrome within this group has not been previously studied.
Metabolic syndrome was evaluated with fasting laboratory measurements, and dietary and lifestyle assessments. Methylation analysis used a peripheral sample for the LINE-1 assay. DNA was also genotyped for MTHFR 677C/T.
This analysis included 133 subjects. We found a significant relationship between LINE-1 methylation, and an interaction between MTHFR and gender, controlling for serum folate (p = 0.008). Females with the 677TT genotype had the lowest methylation (56%) compared with the other groups (75%).
TT genotype females had the lowest methylation, which may explain metabolic syndrome gender differences in schizophrenia. Folate supplementation may be a suggested intervention within schizophrenia; however, additional work is required.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An emerging body of evidence indicates that early-life arsenic (As) exposure may influence the trajectory of health outcomes later in life. However, the mechanisms underlying these observations are unknown.
The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of prenatal As exposure on global methylation of cord blood DNA in a study of mother/newborn pairs in Matlab, Bangladesh.
Maternal and cord blood DNA were available from a convenience sample of 101 mother/newborn pairs. Measures of As exposure included maternal urinary As (uAs), maternal blood As (mbAs) and cord blood As (cbAs). Several measures of global DNA methylation were assessed, including the [3H]-methyl-incorporation assay and three Pyrosequencing assays: Alu, LINE-1 and LUMA.
In the total sample, increasing quartiles of maternal uAs were associated with an increase in covariate-adjusted means of newborn global DNA methylation as measured by the [3H]-methyl-incorporation assay (quartile 1 (Q1) and Q2 vs. Q4; p = 0.06 and 0.04, respectively). Sex-specific linear regression analyses, while not reaching significance level of 0.05, indicated that the associations between As exposures and Alu, LINE-1 and LUMA were positive among male newborns (N = 58) but negative among female newborns (N = 43); tests for sex differences were borderline significant for the association of cbAs and mbAs with Alu (p = 0.05 and 0.09, respectively) and for the association between maternal uAs and LINE-1 (p = 0.07). Sex-specific correlations between maternal urinary creatinine and newborn methyl-incorporation, Alu and LINE-1 were also evident (p<0.05).
These results suggest that prenatal As exposure is associated with global DNA methylation in cord blood DNA, possibly in a sex-specific manner. Arsenic-induced epigenetic modifications in utero may potentially influence disease outcomes later in life. Additional studies are needed to confirm these findings and to examine the persistence of DNA methylation marks over time.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dysregulation of synaptic development and function has been implicated in the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative disorders and mental disease. A neurotrophin that has an important function in neuronal and synaptic development is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). In this communication, we examined the effects of lead (Pb(2+)) exposure on BDNF-tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) signaling during the period of synaptogenesis in cultured neurons derived from embryonic rat hippocampi. We show that Pb(2+) exposure decreases BDNF gene and protein expression, and it may also alter the transport of BDNF vesicles to sites of release by altering Huntingtin phosphorylation and protein levels. Combined, these effects of Pb(2+) resulted in decreased concentrations of extracellular mature BDNF. The effect of Pb(2+) on BDNF gene expression was associated with a specific decrease in calcium-sensitive exon IV transcript levels and reduced phosphorylation and protein expression of the transcriptional repressor methyl-CpG-binding protein (MeCP2). TrkB protein levels and autophosphorylation at tyrosine 816 were significantly decreased by Pb(2+) exposure with a concomitant increase in p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75(NTR)) levels and altered TrkB-p75(NTR) colocalization. Finally, phosphorylation of Synapsin I, a presynaptic target of BDNF-TrkB signaling, was significantly decreased by Pb(2+) exposure with no effect on total Synapsin I protein levels. This effect of Pb(2+) exposure on Synapsin I phosphorylation may help explain the impairment in vesicular release documented by us previously (Neal, A. P., Stansfield, K. H., Worley, P. F., Thompson, R. E., and Guilarte, T. R. (2010). Lead exposure during synaptogenesis alters vesicular proteins and impairs vesicular release: Potential role of N-Methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) dependent BDNF signaling. Toxicol. Sci. 116, 249-263) because it controls vesicle movement from the reserve pool to the readily releasable pool. In summary, the present study demonstrates that Pb(2+) exposure during the period of synaptogenesis of hippocampal neurons in culture disrupts multiple synaptic processes regulated by BDNF-TrkB signaling with long-term consequences for synaptic function and neuronal development.
Preview · Article · Feb 2012 · Toxicological Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Global hypomethylation of DNA is thought to constitute an early event in some cancers and occurs in response to arsenic (As) exposure and/or selenium (Se) deficiency in both in vitro and animal models. In addition, antagonism between As and Se, whereby each reduces toxicity of the other, has been well documented in animal models. Se status may therefore modify the health effects of As in As-exposed populations.
The primary objectives of our study were to test the hypothesis that Se deficiency is associated with genomic hypomethylation of lymphocyte DNA and to determine whether Se levels are associated with blood As (bAs) and urinary As (uAs) concentrations in adults exposed to As-contaminated groundwater in Bangladesh. A secondary objective was to explore the relationships between plasma Se and As metabolites.
We assessed plasma Se concentrations, As metabolite profiles in blood and urine, and genomic methylation of leukocyte DNA in a cross-sectional study of 287 adults.
After adjustment for potential confounders, we observed an inverse association between Se (micrograms per liter) and genomic DNA methylation (disintegrations per minute per 1-µg/L increase in Se): β = 345.6; 95% confidence interval (CI), 59-632. Se concentrations were inversely associated with total As concentrations (micrograms per liter) in blood (β = -0.04; 95% CI, -0.08 to -0.01) and urine (β = -20.1; 95% CI, -29.3 to -10.9). Se levels were negatively associated with the percentage of monomethylarsinic acid (β = -0.59; 95% CI, -1.04 to -0.13) and positively associated with the percentage of dimethylarsinic acid (β = 0.53; 95% CI, 0.04 to 1.01) in blood.
Our results suggest that Se is inversely associated with genomic DNA methylation. The underlying mechanisms and implications of this observation are unclear and warrant further investigation. In addition, Se may influence bAs and uAs concentrations, as well as relative proportions of As metabolites in blood.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Environmental Health Perspectives
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Maternal folate nutritional status and prenatal lead exposure can influence fetal development and subsequent health. The methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene is important for folate metabolism, and 2 common polymorphisms, C677T and A1298C, reduce enzymatic activity; C677T is present at high penetrance in Mexican populations.
The objective of this study was to examine potential links between maternal and child MTHFR polymorphisms and child neurodevelopment in a lead-exposed population.
Data regarding MTHFR polymorphisms C677T and A1298C, peri- and postnatal lead measures, and Bayley Mental Development Index at 24 mo of age (MDI-24) scores were available for 255 mother-child pairs who participated in the ELEMENT (Early Life Exposures in Mexico to Environmental Toxicants) study during 1994-1995.
In covariate-adjusted regression models, maternal MTHFR 677 genotype predicted MDI-24 scores, in which each copy of the maternal MTHFR 677T variant allele was associated with lower MDI-24 scores (beta = -3.52; 95% CI: -6.12, -0.93; P = 0.004). Maternal MTHFR haplotype also predicted MDI-24 scores (mean +/- SE: 93.3 +/- 1.2 for 677C-1298A compared with 89.9 +/- 0.8 for 677T-1298A; P < 0.05). MDI-24 scores were not associated with maternal MTHFR 1298 genotype or child MTHFR genotypes. We did not observe significant MTHFR genotype x lead interactions with respect to any of the subject biomarkers of lead exposure.
The maternal MTHFR 677T allele is an independent predictor of poorer child neurodevelopment at 24 mo. These results suggest that maternal genetic variations in folate metabolism during pregnancy may program offspring neurodevelopment trajectories. Further research is warranted to determine the generalizability of these results across other populations.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2010 · American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this paper we describe a novel approach that may shed light on the genomic DNA methylation of organisms with non-resolved genomes. The LUminometric Methylation Assay (LUMA) is permissive for genomic DNA methylation studies of any genome as it relies on the use of methyl-sensitive and -insensitive restriction enzymes followed by polymerase extension via Pyrosequencing technology. Here, LUMA was used to characterize genomic DNA methylation in the lower brain stem region from 47 polar bears subsistence hunted in central East Greenland between 1999 and 2001. In these samples, average genomic DNA methylation was 57.9% +/- 6.69 (SD; range was 42.0 to 72.4%). When genomic DNA methylation was related to brain mercury (Hg) exposure levels, an inverse association was seen between these two variables for the entire study population (P for trend = 0.17). After dichotomizing animals by gender and controlling for age, a negative trend was seen amongst male animals (P for trend = 0.07) but no associations were found in female bears. Such sexually dimorphic responses have been found in other toxicological studies. Our results show that genomic DNA methylation can be quantitatively studied in a highly reproducible manner in tissue samples from a wild organism with a non-resolved genome. As such, LUMA holds great promise as a novel method to explore consequential questions across the ecological sciences that may require an epigenetic understanding.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2009 · Molecular Ecology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fetal lead exposure is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes and developmental and cognitive deficits; however, the mechanism(s) by which lead-induced toxicity occurs remains unknown. Epigenetic fetal programming via DNA methylation may provide a pathway by which environmental lead exposure can influence disease susceptibility.
This study was designed to determine whether prenatal lead exposure is associated with alterations in genomic methylation of leukocyte DNA levels from umbilical cord samples.
We measured genomic DNA methylation, as assessed by Alu and LINE-1 (long interspersed nuclear element-1) methylation via pyrosequencing, on 103 umbilical cord blood samples from the biorepository of the Early Life Exposures in Mexico to Environmental Toxicants (ELEMENT) study group. Prenatal lead exposure had been assessed by measuring maternal bone lead levels at the mid-tibial shaft and the patella using a spot-source (109)Cd K-shell X-ray fluorescence instrument.
We found an inverse dose-response relationship in which quartiles of patella lead correlated with cord LINE-1 methylation (p for trend = 0.01) and and tibia lead correlated with Alu methylation (p for trend = 0.05). In mixed effects regression models, maternal tibia lead was negatively associated with umbilical cord genomic DNA methylation of Alu (beta= -0.027; p = 0.01). We found no associations between cord blood lead and cord genomic DNA methylation.
Prenatal lead exposure is inversely associated with genomic DNA methylation in cord blood. These data suggest that the epigenome of the developing fetus can be influenced by maternal cumulative lead burden, which may influence long-term epigenetic programming and disease susceptibility throughout the life course.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2009 · Environmental Health Perspectives
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Approximately 35 million people in Bangladesh are chronically exposed to inorganic arsenic (InAs) in drinking water. Methylation of InAs to monomethylarsonic (MMA) and dimethylarsinic acids (DMA) relies on folate-dependent one-carbon metabolism and facilitates urinary arsenic (uAs) elimination.
We examined the relationships between folate, cobalamin, cysteine, total homocysteine (tHcys), and uAs metabolites in a sample of 6-year-old Bangladeshi children (n = 165).
Children provided blood samples for measurement of tHcys, folate, cobalamin, and cysteine, and urine specimens for the measurement of total uAs and As metabolites.
Consistent with our studies in adults, mean tHcys concentrations (7.9 micromol/L) were higher than those reported among children of similar ages in other populations. Nineteen percent of the children had plasma folate concentrations < 9.0 nmol/L. The proportion of total uAs excreted as InAs (%InAs) was inversely correlated with folate (r = -0.20, p = 0.01) and cysteine (r = -0.23, p = 0.003), whereas the correlations between %DMA and both folate (r = 0.12, p = 0.14) and cysteine (r = 0.11, p = 0.15) were positive. Homocysteine was inversely correlated (r = -0.27, p = 0.009) with %MMA in males, and the correlation with %DMA was positive (r = 0.13, p = 0.10).
These findings suggest that, similar to adults, folate and cysteine facilitate As methylation in children. However, the inverse correlation between tHcys and %MMA, and positive correlation with %DMA, are both opposite to our previous findings in adults. We propose that upregulation of one-carbon metabolism, presumably necessary to meet the considerable demands for DNA and protein biosynthesis during periods of rapid growth, results in both increased tHcys biosynthesis and increased As methylation.
Full-text · Article · May 2009 · Environmental Health Perspectives
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Arsenic methylation relies on folate-dependent one-carbon metabolism and facilitates urinary As elimination. Clinical manifestations of As toxicity vary considerably among individuals and populations, and poor methylation capacity is thought to confer greater susceptibility.
After determining that folate deficiency, hyperhomocysteinemia, and low urinary creatinine are associated with reduced As methylation, and that As exposure is associated with increased genomic methylation of leukocyte DNA, we asked whether these factors are associated with As-induced skin lesion risk among Bangladeshi adults.
We conducted a nested case-control study of 274 cases who developed lesions 2 years after recruitment, and 274 controls matched to cases for sex, age, and water As.
The odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for development of skin lesions for participants who had low folate (< 9 nmol/L), hyperhomocysteinemia (men, > 11.4 micromol/L; women, > 10.4 micromol/L), or hypomethylated leukocyte DNA at recruitment (< median) were 1.8 (95% CI, 1.1-2.9), 1.7 (95% CI, 1.1-2.6), and 1.8 (95% CI, 1.2-2.8), respectively. Compared with the subjects in the first quartile, those in the third and fourth quartiles for urinary creatinine had a 0.4-fold decrease in the odds of skin lesions (p < 0.01).
These results suggest that folate deficiency, hyperhomocysteinemia, and low urinary creatinine, each associated with decreased As methylation, are risk factors for As-induced skin lesions. The increased DNA methylation associated with As exposure previously observed, and confirmed among controls in this study, may be an adaptive change because hypomethylation of leukocyte DNA is associated with increased risk for skin lesions.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2009 · Environmental Health Perspectives
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Bangladesh, tens of millions of people have been consuming waterborne arsenic for decades. The extent to which As is transported to the fetus during pregnancy has not been well characterized.
We therefore conducted a study of 101 pregnant women who gave birth in Matlab, Bangladesh.
Maternal and cord blood pairs were collected and concentrations of total As were analyzed for 101 pairs, and As metabolites for 30 pairs. Maternal urinary As metabolites and plasma folate, cobalamin, and homocysteine levels in maternal cord pairs were also measured. Household tube well-water As concentrations exceeded the World Health Organization guideline of 10 microg/L in 38% of the cases.
We observed strong associations between maternal and cord blood concentrations of total As (r = 0.93, p < 0.0001). Maternal and cord blood arsenic metabolites (n = 30) were also strongly correlated: in dimethylarsinate (DMA) (r = 0.94, p < 0.0001), monomethylarsonate (r = 0.80, p < 0.0001), arsenite (As(+3)) (r = 0.80, p < 0.0001), and arsenate (As(+5)) (r = 0.89, p < 0.0001). Maternal homocysteine was a strong predictor of %DMA in maternal urine, maternal blood, and cord blood (beta = -6.2, p < 0.02; beta = -10.9, p < 0.04; and beta = -13.7, p < 0.04, respectively). Maternal folate was inversely associated with maternal blood As(5+) (beta = 0.56, p < 0.05), and maternal cobalamin was inversely associated with cord blood As(5+) (beta = -1.2, p < 0.01).
We conclude that exposure to all metabolites of inorganic As occurs in the prenatal period.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2007 · Environmental Health Perspectives
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic arsenic exposure currently affects >100 million persons worldwide. Methylation of ingested inorganic arsenic (InAs) to monomethylarsonic (MMAs) and dimethylarsinic (DMAs) acids relies on folate-dependent one-carbon metabolism and facilitates urinary arsenic elimination.
We hypothesized that folic acid supplementation to arsenic-exposed Bangladeshi adults would increase arsenic methylation and thereby lower total blood arsenic.
In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, we evaluated blood concentrations of total arsenic, InAs, MMAs, and DMAs in 130 participants with low plasma folate (<9 nmol/L) before and after 12 wk of supplementation with folic acid (400 microg/d) or placebo.
MMAs in blood was reduced by a mean +/- SE of 22.24 +/- 2.86% in the folic acid supplementation group and by 1.24 +/- 3.59% in the placebe group (P < 0.0001). There was no change in DMAs in blood; DMAs is rapidly excreted in urine as evidenced by an increase in urinary DMAs (P = 0.0099). Total blood arsenic was reduced by 13.62% in the folic acid supplementation group and by 2.49% in the placebo group (P = 0.0199).
Folic acid supplementation to participants with low plasma concentrations of folate lowered blood arsenic concentrations, primarily by decreasing blood MMAs and increasing urinary DMAs. Therapeutic strategies to facilitate arsenic methylation, particularly in populations with folate deficiency or hyperhomocysteinemia or both, may lower blood arsenic concentrations and thereby contribute to the prevention of arsenic-induced illnesses.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2007 · American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies in cell culture and animal models indicate that arsenic exposure induces modifications in DNA methylation, including genome-wide DNA hypomethylation. It is not known whether arsenic exposure influences genomic DNA methylation in human populations chronically exposed to arsenic-contaminated drinking water.
The objective of this study was to determine whether arsenic is associated with genomic hypomethylation of peripheral blood leukocyte (PBL) DNA in Bangladeshi adults who are chronically exposed to arsenic. We also investigated whether arsenic-induced alterations in DNA methylation may be influenced by folate nutritional status.
PBL DNA methylation and concentrations of plasma folate, plasma arsenic, and urinary arsenic were assessed in 294 adults in Araihazar, Bangladesh. Genomic PBL DNA methylation was measured by using a [(3)H]-methyl incorporation assay.
Urinary arsenic, plasma arsenic, and plasma folate were positively associated with the methylation of PBL DNA (P = 0.009, 0.03, and 0.03, respectively). Stratification of participants by folate nutritional status [<9 nmol/L (n = 190) or >or=9 nmol/L (n = 104)] showed that the associations between arsenic exposure and methylation of PBL DNA were restricted to persons with folate concentrations >or= 9 nmol/L.
Contrary to our a priori hypothesis, arsenic exposure was positively associated with genomic PBL DNA methylation in a dose-dependent manner. This effect is modified by folate, which suggests that arsenic-induced increases in DNA methylation cannot occur in the absence of adequate folate. The underlying mechanisms and physiologic implications of increased genomic DNA methylation are unclear, and they warrant further study.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2007 · American Journal of Clinical Nutrition