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Levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals are associated with changes in the peri-pubertal epigenome

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Puberty marks a transition period, which leads to the attainment of adult sexual maturity. Timing of puberty is a strongly heritable trait. However, large genetic association studies can only explain a fraction of the observed variability and striking secular trends suggest that lifestyle and/or environmental factors are important. Using liquid-chromatography tandem-mass-spectrometry, we measured endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs; triclosan, bisphenol A, benzophenone-3, 2,4-dichlorophenol, 11 metabolites from 5 phthalates) in longitudinal urine samples obtained biannually from peri-pubertal children included in the COPENHAGEN puberty cohort. EDC levels were associated with blood DNA methylation profiles from 31 boys and 20 girls measured both pre- and post-pubertally. We found little evidence of single methylation sites that on their own showed association with urinary excretion levels of EDCs obtained either the same day or measured as the yearly mean of dichotomized EDC levels. In contrast, methylation of several promoter regions was found to be associated with two or more EDCs, overlap with known gene-chemical interactions, and form a core network with genes known to be important for puberty. Furthermore, children with the highest yearly mean of dichotomized urinary phthalate metabolite levels were associated with higher promoter methylation of the thyroid hormone receptor interactor 6 gene (TRIP6), which again was mirrored by lower circulating TRIP6 protein levels. In general, the mean TRIP6 promoter methylation was mirrored by circulating TRIP6 protein levels. Our results provide a potential molecular mode of action of how exposure to environmental chemicals may modify pubertal development.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEndocrine Connections
Volume9
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)845-857
Number of pages13
ISSN2049-3614
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

    Research areas

  • DNA methylation, Endocrine disruption, Epigenetics, Phthalates, Puberty

ID: 60646818