Environmental health : a global access science source 2017 03 0716(1) 20 doi 10.1186/s12940-017-0231-7
Chronic exposure to arsenic is associated with cancer and hypertension. Growing evidence suggests that altered methylation in long interspersed nuclear element-1 (LINE-1) is involved in many types of disorders, including cardiovascular disease. Here we evaluated the association between arsenic exposure and LINE-1 methylation levels, especially in relation to blood pressure (BP).
A total of 236 subjects (175 from arsenic-endemic areas and 61 from a non-endemic area) in rural Bangladesh were recruited. The subjects’ arsenic exposure levels (i.e., drinking water, hair and nail arsenic concentrations) were measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy. The subjects’ LINE-1 methylation levels were determined by pyrosequencing.
The average LINE-1 methylation levels of the subjects living in the arsenic-endemic areas were significantly (p < 0.01) lower than those of the subjects living in the non-endemic area. In a sex-stratified analysis, the arsenic exposure levels in female but not male subjects showed a significant inverse association with LINE-1 methylation levels before (water arsenic: p < 0.01, hair arsenic: p < 0.05, nail arsenic: p < 0.001) and after (water arsenic: p < 0.01, hair arsenic: p < 0.05, nail arsenic: p < 0.001) adjustment for age, body mass index and smoking. Analyses examining interactions among arsenic levels, BP and LINE-1 methylation showed that arsenic-related elevated levels of BP were associated with LINE-1 hypomethylation. CONCLUSIONS
Our findings demonstrated that chronic exposure to arsenic was inversely associated with LINE-1 methylation levels in blood leukocyte DNA and this was more pronounced in females than males; in addition, the decreased levels of LINE-1 methylation might be involved in the arsenic-induced elevation of BP.