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A genome-wide study of DNA methylation in white blood cells and asthma in Latino children and youth.

  • Jiang, Yale1, 2, 3
  • Forno, Erick1, 2
  • Han, Yueh-Ying1, 2
  • Xu, Zhongli1, 2, 3
  • Hu, Donglei4
  • Boutaoui, Nadia1, 2
  • Eng, Celeste4
  • Acosta-Pérez, Edna5
  • Huntsman, Scott4
  • Colón-Semidey, Angel6
  • Keys, Kevin L4, 7
  • Rodríguez-Santana, José R8
  • Alvarez, María6
  • Pino-Yanes, Maria9, 10, 11
  • Canino, Glorisa5
  • Chen, Wei1, 2
  • Burchard, Esteban G4, 12
  • Celedón, Juan C1, 2
  • 1 Division of Pulmonary Medicine, UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
  • 2 Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
  • 3 School of Medicine, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. , (China)
  • 4 Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
  • 5 Behavioral Sciences Research Institute, Medical Science Campus, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR. , (Puerto Rico)
  • 6 Department of Pediatrics, Medical Science Campus, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR. , (Puerto Rico)
  • 7 Berkeley Institute for Data Science, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA.
  • 8 Centro de Neumología Pediátrica, San Juan, PR.
  • 9 Genomics and Health Group, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, Cell Biology and Genetics, Universidad de La Laguna, La Laguna, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 10 CIBER de Enfermedades Respiratorias, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 11 Instituto de Tecnologías Biomédicas (ITB), Universidad de La Laguna, San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 12 Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Published Article
Landes Bioscience
Publication Date
May 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1080/15592294.2020.1809872
PMID: 32799603


Latinos are heavily affected with childhood asthma. Little is known about epigenetic mechanisms of asthma in Latino youth. We conducted a meta-analysis of two epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) of asthma, using DNA from white blood cells (WBCs) from 1,136 Latino children and youth aged 6 to 20 years. Genes near the top CpG sites in this EWAS were examined in a pathway enrichment analysis, and we then assessed whether our results replicated those from publicly available data from three independent EWAS conducted in non-Latino populations. We found that DNA methylation profiles differed between subjects with and without asthma. After adjustment for covariates and multiple testing, two CpGs were differentially methylated at a false discovery rate (FDR)-adjusted P < 0.1, and 193 CpG sites were differentially methylated at FDR-adjusted P < 0.2. The two top CpGs are near genes relevant to inflammatory signalling, including CAMK1D (Calcium/Calmodulin Dependent Protein Kinase ID) and TIGIT (T Cell Immunoreceptor With Ig And ITIM Domains). Moreover, 25 genomic regions were differentially methylated between subjects with and without asthma, at Šidák-corrected P < 0.10. An enrichment analysis then identified the TGF-beta pathway as most relevant to asthma in our analysis, and we replicated some of the top signals from publicly available EWAS datasets in non-Hispanic populations. In conclusion, we have identified novel epigenetic markers of asthma in WBCs from Latino children and youth, while also replicating previous results from studies conducted in non-Latinos.

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