Author(s): Watkins DJ, Wellenius GA, Butler RA, Bartell SM, Fletcher T,
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Abstract Perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) are persistent, synthetic compounds that are used in a number of consumer products. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) have been associated with cardiovascular risk factors, and changes in gene expression and DNA methylation in animals and cellular systems. However, whether PFAA exposure is associated with LINE-1 DNA methylation, a potential marker of cardiovascular risk, in humans remains unknown. We sought to evaluate the cross-sectional associations between serum PFAAs and LINE-1 DNA methylation in a population highly exposed to PFOA. We measured serum PFAAs twice four to five years apart in 685 adult participants (47\% male, mean age±SD=42±11years). We measured percent LINE-1 DNA methylation in peripheral blood leukocytes at the second time point (follow-up), and estimated absolute differences in LINE-1 methylation associated with an interquartile (IQR) shift in mean PFAA serum levels. IQR increases in mean serum PFOA, PFOS, perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), and perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS) were associated with differences of -0.04 (p=0.16), 0.20 (p=0.001), 0.06 (p=0.19), and 0.02 (p=0.57), respectively, in \% LINE-1 methylation at follow-up after adjustment for potential confounders. We observed a monotonic increase in LINE-1 DNA methylation across tertiles of PFOS and PFNA (ptrend=0.02 for both associations), but not across tertiles of PFOA or PFHxS (ptrend=0.71 and 0.44, respectively). In summary, serum PFOS was associated with LINE-1 methylation, while serum PFOA, PFHxS, and PFNA were not. Additional research is needed to more precisely determine whether these compounds are epigenetically active. © 2013.
This article was published in Environ Int
and referenced in Journal of Molecular Biomarkers & Diagnosis