Modeling the Causal Role of DNA Methylation in the Association between Cigarette Smoking and Inflammation in African Americans: A 2-Step Epigenetic Mendelian Randomization Study

Min A. Jhun, Jennifer A. Smith, Erin B. Ware, Sharon L.R. Kardia, Thomas H. Mosley, Stephen T. Turner, Patricia A. Peyser, Sung Kyun Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The association between cigarette smoking and inflammation is well known. However, the biological mechanisms behind the association are not fully understood, particularly the role of DNA methylation, which is known to be affected by smoking. Using 2-step epigenetic Mendelian randomization, we investigated the role of DNA methylation in the association between cigarette smoking and inflammation. In 822 African Americans from the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy, phase 2 (Jackson, Mississippi; 2000-2005), study population, we examined the association of cigarette smoking with DNA methylation using single nucleotide polymorphisms identified in previous genome-wide association studies of cigarette smoking. We then investigated the association of DNA methylation with levels of inflammatory markers using cis-methylation quantitative trait loci single nucleotide polymorphisms. We found that current smoking status was associated with the DNA methylation levels (M values) of cg03636183 in the coagulation factor II (thrombin) receptor-like 3 gene (F2RL3) (M =-0.64, 95% confidence interval (CI):-0.84,-0.45) and of cg19859270 in the G protein-coupled receptor 15 gene (GPR15) (M =-0.21, 95% CI:-0.27,-0.15). The DNA methylation levels of cg03636183 in F2RL3 were associated with interleukin-18 concentration (-0.11 pg/mL, 95% CI:-0.19,-0.04). These combined negative effects suggest that cigarette smoking increases interleukin-18 levels through the decrease in DNA methylation levels of cg03636183 in F2RL3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1149-1158
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Volume186
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 15 2017

Keywords

  • DNA methylation
  • Mendelian randomization
  • cigarette smoking
  • inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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