Research Papers:

The role of particulate matters on methylation of IFN-γ and IL-4 promoter genes in pediatric allergic rhinitis

Youjin Li, Zhe Mu, Hongyang Wang, Jinfen Liu _ and Fan Jiang

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:17406-17419. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.24227

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Youjin Li1,*, Zhe Mu2,3,*, Hongyang Wang4, Jinfen Liu5 and Fan Jiang6,7

1Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Children's Medical Center, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai 200127, China

2School of Public Health, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China

3Shanghai Key Laboratory of Meteorology and Health, Shanghai Meteorological Bureau, Shanghai 200030, China

4Chinese PLA Institute of Otolaryngology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Medical School of Chinese PLA, Beijing 100853, China

5Department of Pediatrics, Children's Medical Center, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai Jiaotong University Pediatric Institute, Shanghai 200127, China

6Department of Child Development and Behavior, Children's Medical Center, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai 200127, China

7MOE-Shanghai Key Laboratory of Children's Environmental Health, Shanghai 200127, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Jinfen Liu, email: [email protected]

Fan Jiang, email: [email protected]

Keywords: pediatric allergic rhinitis; particulate matter; methylation; IFN-γ; IL-4

Received: June 09, 2017     Accepted: December 27, 2017     Epub: January 13, 2018     Published: April 03, 2018


Allergic rhinitis (AR) is a chronic inflammatory disorder driven by T cell activation. How particulate matter contributes to epigenetic changes that in turn influence cytokine gene expression in CD4+T cells remains unclear. In this study, 105 children diagnosed with AR and 90 healthy controls were recruited to explore the possible mechanism of particulate matter (PM) on the epigenetic regulation of CD4+T IFN-γ and IL-4 promoter genes. Daily average PM10 and PM2.5 were obtained from five state-controlled monitoring stations, and activity-based dynamic exposure and personal exposure data were collected. DNA methylation patterns of IFN-γ and IL-4 promoter regions were analyzed using bisulfite sequencing. mRNA levels were detected by real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. We found that the methylation rate in IFN-γ was higher in AR CD4+T cells than in the controls. IFN-γ mRNA expression was significantly decreased in CD4+T cells, and negatively correlated with the mean methylation level of IFN-γ. However, no correlation between IL-4 methylation and IL-4 mRNA expression was found. After adjusting for age, gender, exclusive breastfeeding within 4 months after birth and parental history of allergic disease, out data showed that PM2.5 exposure level was positively correlated with methylation level in IFN-γ promoter region and decreased cytokine expression. We conclude that the effect of PM2.5 on pediatric AR may be mediated through epigenetic modification of IFN-γ promoter region.

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