DNA Methylation and Asthma Acquisition during Adolescence and Post-Adolescence, an Epigenome-Wide Longitudinal Study


The role of epigenetics in the pathogenesis of asthma acquisition in adolescence and post-adolescence has been unknown. We carried out a longitudinal epigenome-wide association study, using data from the Isle of Wight Birth Cohort (IOWBC). To improve statistical power, we first screened CpGs based on associations of DNA methylation (DNAm) at an age of 10 years (pre-ado-lescence) with asthma acquisition at 10–18 years (during adolescence). A logistic regression with repeated measures was applied to CpGs that passed screening to examine the associations of pre-adolescence DNAm with asthma acquisition from 10–18 years and 18–26 years, with an interaction term to evaluate transition period specificity. Findings were further tested in an independent birth cohort, ALSPAC. In total, 205 CpGs (with 150 being females) showed associations with asthma acquisition (main or interaction effects) at FDR = 0.05 in IOWBC, of which 112 (90 being females) showed consistent associations in the ALSPAC. Genes that the identified CpGs were mapped to, e.g., AKAP1 and ENO1, have been shown to be associated with the risk of asthma. Our findings indicated that DNAm at specific CpGs was associated with asthma acquisition. CpGs showing such associations were likely to be different between males and females and, at certain CpGs, were unique to a specific transition period.

Publication Title

Journal of Personalized Medicine