Thorson, Jennifer L M and Beck, Daniel and Ben Maamar, Millissia andNilsson, Eric E and Skinner, Michael K
BACKGROUND: Permethrin and N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) are the pesticides and insect repellent most commonly used by humans. These pesticides have been shown to promote the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease in rats. The current study was designed as an epigenome-wide association study (EWAS) to identify potential sperm DNA methylation epimutation biomarkers for specific transgenerational disease. METHODS: Outbred Sprague Dawley gestating female rats (F0) were transiently exposed during fetal gonadal sex determination to the pesticide combination including Permethrin and DEET. The F3 generation great-grand offspring within the pesticide lineage were aged to 1 year. The transgenerational adult male rat sperm were collected from individuals with single and multiple diseases and compared to non-diseased animals to identify differential DNA methylation regions (DMRs) as biomarkers for specific transgenerational disease. RESULTS: The exposure of gestating female rats to a permethrin and DEET pesticide combination promoted transgenerational testis disease, prostate disease, kidney disease, and the presence of multiple disease in the subsequent F3 generation great-grand offspring. The disease DMRs were found to be disease specific with negligible overlap between different diseases. The genomic features of CpG density, DMR length, and chromosomal locations of the disease specific DMRs were investigated. Interestingly, the majority of the disease specific sperm DMR associated genes have been previously found to be linked to relevant disease specific genes. CONCLUSIONS: Observations demonstrate the EWAS approach identified disease specific biomarkers that can be potentially used to assess transgenerational disease susceptibility and facilitate the clinical management of environmentally induced pathology.