Epigenetics in environmental toxicology

The fact that environmental factors induce DNA mutations that may lead to disease is well-established and will have tremendous benefits when incorporated into various environmental safety and health assessments. Environmental factors such as dietary intake, drugs, stress, or exposure to toxins, can cause epigenetic changes by possibly altering how transcription factors bind to DNA or changing the structure of the histones that DNA wraps around. These structural changes can affect gene activity or gene expression. A number of environmental factors have been investigated for their effect on epigenetic changes including phthalates, toxic metals, smoking, air pollution, jet fuel, environmental stress, and a high fat diet. Effects on epigenetic mechanisms, DNA methylation patterns, histone modifications, miRNA expression have been documented as a result. The table below (Marczylo et al, 2016 and Society of Toxicology, 2018) summarizes a few of the studies that have been done for putative environmentally-induced epigenetic toxicity in humans or rat/mouse.

In the future, incorporating epigenetic evaluation into toxicity tests can increase the safety of both food and environmental substances.

Toxin/exposure Species/stage of exposure/effect Phenotype Epigenetic change Reference(s)
Air pollution Human/childhood/childhood Asthma Epigenetic mechanisms Somineni et al. (2016)
BPA Human/in utero/childhood Behavior DNA methylation Kundakovic (2015)
Formaldehyde Human/lifetime/adult Alzheimer’s Epigenetic mechanisms and DNA methylation Tong et al. (2015)
Methylmercury Rodent/in utero/adult Behavior Histone modifications and DNA methylation Onishchenko (2008)
Arsenic Human/lifetime/adult Skin disorder DNA methylation Paul et al. (2014)
Nickel Human/lifetime/adult NSCLC survival miRNA Chiou et al. (2015)
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Human/adult/adult Chromosome aberrations - PBL DNA methylation Yang et al. (2012)
Various phthalates Rodent/in utero/adult Decreased testosterone/gonadal DNA methylation and histone modifications Kilcoyne et al. (2014) Martinez-Arguelles et al. (2009), Papoutsis et al. (2015), Takeda et al. (2012), Yoshioka et al. (2011)
Smoking Human/Lifetime/adult COPD and tumor Epigenetic mechanisms, DNA methylation, miRNA Lin (2010), Ostrow (2013) Shenker (2013), Xie et al. (2014)
Alcohol Rodent/lifetime and in utero Nuerological, cardiac, behavior, stem cell Histone modification and miRNA Ignacio et al. (2014), Middleton et al. (2012), Leu et al. (2014), Pascual et al. (2011), Peng et al. (2015)
High fat diet Rodent/in utero/adult Diet preference DNA methylation and miRNAs Baselga-Escudero (2015), Carlin et al. (2013), Vucetic et al. (2010)
Under-nourishment Rodent/adult/adult Hepatic miRNAs Tryndyak et al. (2016)

Diagenode products for your epigenomics research in Toxicology

Chromatin analysis

Understand the effects on chromatin and histone modifcations

DNA methylation

Analyze DNA methylation and the effects of environmental toxins

Non-coding RNAs

Discover noncoding RNAs and miRNAs in the regulation of gene expression

Features for Toxicology

  • Illumina index primers for D-Plex small RNA library preparation with UMI
    D-Plex Single Indexes for Illumina - Set A
  • Illumina index primers for D-Plex small RNA library preparation with UMI
    D-Plex Single Indexes for Illumina - Set B
  • Illumina index primers for D-Plex small RNA library preparation with UMI
    D-Plex Unique Dual Indexes for Illumina - Set A
  • Illumina index primers for D-Plex small RNA library preparation with UMI
    D-Plex Unique Dual Indexes for Illumina - Set B
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    MagMeDIP-seq Package V2 MeDIP-seq library prep...
  • MagMeDIP-seq Package
    MagMeDIP-seq Package


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