Epigenome-wide association study of lung function in Latino children and youth with asthma

Esther Herrera-Luis, Annie Li, Angel C.Y. Mak, Javier Perez-Garcia, Jennifer R. Elhawary, Sam S. Oh, Donglei Hu, Celeste Eng, Kevin L. Keys, Scott Huntsman, Kenneth B. Beckman, Luisa N. Borrell, Jose Rodriguez-Santana, Esteban G. Burchard, Maria Pino-Yanes

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11 Scopus citations


Introduction: DNA methylation studies have associated methylation levels at different CpG sites or genomic regions with lung function. Moreover, genetic ancestry has been associated with lung function in Latinos. However, no epigenome-wide association study (EWAS) of lung function has been performed in this population. Here, we aimed to identify DNA methylation patterns associated with lung function in pediatric asthma among Latinos. Results: We conducted an EWAS in whole blood from 250 Puerto Rican and 148 Mexican American children and young adults with asthma. A total of five CpGs exceeded the genome-wide significance threshold of p = 1.17 × 10−7 in the combined analyses from Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans: cg06035600 (MAP3K6, p = 6.13 × 10−8) showed significant association with pre-bronchodilator Tiffeneau–Pinelli index, the probes cg00914963 (TBC1D16, p = 1.04 × 10−7), cg16405908 (MRGPRE, p = 2.05 × 10−8), and cg07428101 (MUC2, p = 5.02 × 10−9) were associated with post-bronchodilator forced vital capacity (FVC), and cg20515679 (KCNJ6) with post-bronchodilator Tiffeneau–Pinelli index (p = 1.13 × 10−8). However, these markers did not show significant associations in publicly available data from Europeans (p > 0.05). A methylation quantitative trait loci analysis revealed that methylation levels at these CpG sites were regulated by genetic variation in Latinos and the Biobank-based Integrative Omics Studies (BIOS) consortium. Additionally, two differentially methylated regions in REXOC and AURKC were associated with pre-bronchodilator Tiffeneau–Pinelli index (adjusted p < 0.05) in Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans. Moreover, we replicated some of the previous differentially methylated signals associated with lung function in non-Latino populations. Conclusions: We replicated previous associations of epigenetic markers with lung function in whole blood and identified novel population-specific associations shared among Latino subgroups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
JournalClinical epigenetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Asthma
  • Epigenome-wide association study
  • Hispanics
  • Latinos
  • Lung function
  • Methylation


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