Secondhand Tobacco Smoke Exposure Associations With DNA Methylation of the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Repressor

Lindsay M. Reynolds, Hoda S. Magid, Gloria C. Chi, Kurt Lohman, R. Graham Barr, Joel D. Kaufman, Ina Hoeschele, Michael Blaha, Ana Navas Acien, Yongmei Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Introduction: Cigarette smoking is inversely associated with DNA methylation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor repressor (AHRR; cg05575921). However, the association between secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS) exposure and AHRR methylation is unknown.

Methods: DNA methylation of AHRR cg05575921 in CD14+ monocyte samples, from 495 never-smokers and 411 former smokers (having quit smoking ≥15 years) from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), was cross-sectionally compared with concomitantly ascertained self-reported SHS exposure, urine cotinine concentrations, and estimates of air pollutants at participants' homes. Linear regression was used to test for associations, and covariates included age, sex, race, education, study site, and previous smoking exposure (smoking status, time since quitting, and pack-years).

Results: Recent indoor SHS exposure (hours per week) was inversely associated with cg05575921 methylation (β ± SE = -0.009 ± 0.003, p = .007). The inverse effect direction was consistent (but did not reach significance) in the majority of stratified analyses (by smoking status, sex, and race). Categorical analysis revealed high levels of recent SHS exposure (≥10 hours per week) inversely associated with cg05575921 methylation (β ± SE = -0.28 ± 0.09, p = .003), which remained significant (p < .05) in the majority of stratified analyses. cg05575921 methylation did not significantly (p < .05) associate with low to moderate levels of recent SHS exposure (1-9 hours per week), urine cotinine concentrations, years spent living with people smoking, years spent indoors (not at home) with people smoking, or estimated levels of air pollutants.

Conclusions: High levels of recent indoor SHS exposure may be inversely associated with DNA methylation of AHRR in human monocytes.

Implications: DNA methylation is a biochemical alteration that can occur in response to cigarette smoking; however, little is known about the effect of SHS on human DNA methylation. In the present study, we evaluated the association between SHS exposure and DNA methylation in human monocytes, at a site (AHRR cg05575921) known to have methylation inversely associated with current and former cigarette smoking compared to never smoking. Results from this study suggest high levels of recent SHS exposure inversely associate with DNA methylation of AHRR cg05575921 in monocytes from nonsmokers, albeit with weaker effects than active cigarette smoking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-451
Number of pages10
JournalNicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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