NIEHS-funded researchers identified hotspots in the human genome that are susceptible to epigenetic changes after cadmium exposure. Led by Michael Cowley, Ph.D., and Cathrine Hoyo, Ph.D., at the North Carolina State University Center for Human Health and the Environment (CHHE), the research provides clues about how cadmium exposure causes disease.
The research team discovered that DNA regulatory regions at imprinted genes, referred to as Imprinting Control Regions (ICRs), may be particularly sensitive to cadmium-related epigenetic changes. They analyzed blood samples from 20 mothers and cord blood samples from 19 of their newborn infants, comparing DNA methylation profiles for women with higher cadmium exposure to those with lower cadmium exposure. Using genome-wide sequencing, they identified 1,945 sites in mothers and 641 in newborns with differences in methylation between the higher and lower cadmium exposure groups. Read more…..