The sex-specific association of phthalate exposure with DNA methylation and characteristics of body fat in children

Chia Huang Chang, Chian Feng Chen, Yen An Tsai, Shu Li Wang, Po Chin Huang, Bai Hsiun Chen, Ming Tsang Wu, Chu Chih Chen, Chao Agnes Hsiung, Mei Lien Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The present study assessed the association between phthalate exposure and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) polymerase γ (POLG) methylation along with the potential effect on the characteristics of body fat in children. A total of 152 children were enrolled. The urinary concentrations of phthalate metabolites were measured using ultraperformance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Genomic DNA was extracted from the buffy coat, and bisulfite-treated DNA was subjected to a pyrosequencing assay. In total, 17 CpG sites in the exon 2 region of POLG were included in the analysis. A multivariable regression model was applied to determine whether characteristics of body fat were associated with phthalate exposure and methylation of POLG. After adjustment for covariates, male children with a ten-fold increase in mono-methyl phthalate (MMP) or mono-benzyl phthalate (MBzP) concentrations had significantly higher measurements for total body fat (MMP: β = 6.47%; MBzP: β = 3.54%), and trunk fat (MMP: β = 6.67%; MBzP: β = 3.90%). Male children who had hypermethylation at the 2nd CpG site in exon 2 of POLG also had high measurements for BMI (β = 1.66 kg/m2), waist (β = 4.49 cm) and hip (β = 4.81 cm) circumference, total body fat (β = 5.48%), and trunk fat (β = 6.21%). A dose-response relationship existed between methylation at the 2nd CpG site in exon 2 of POLG and characteristics of body fat (p for trend<0.01). This study suggested that male children who are exposed to phthalic acid esters have high body weight, BMI, and body and trunk fat percentages. Methylation of the exon 2 region of POLG is a possible mechanism behind the causal effect of endocrine-disrupting substances.

Original languageEnglish
Article number139833
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume737
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2020

Keywords

  • Body fat
  • Children
  • DNA methylation
  • Phthalates
  • POLG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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  • Cite this

    Chang, C. H., Chen, C. F., Tsai, Y. A., Wang, S. L., Huang, P. C., Chen, B. H., Wu, M. T., Chen, C. C., Hsiung, C. A., & Chen, M. L. (2020). The sex-specific association of phthalate exposure with DNA methylation and characteristics of body fat in children. Science of the Total Environment, 737, [139833]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.139833