Tang & Rajasundaram

Early-life Exposure to Inorganic Arsenic Primes the Offspring to Increased Airway Hyperresponsiveness: Insights from Integrative Analysis of Epigenome

Environmental stressors (chemicals or non-chemicals) can impact the ability of genes to be active or not (call epigenetics), without changing the DNA sequence determined at birth (heredity). These epigenetic changes can persist after the exposure has stopped to cause long-lasting effects on development, metabolism and health, sometimes even in subsequent generations. Our pilot project aims to examine if early life exposure to inorganic arsenic alters the lung health by disrupting immune system and hindering lung function. Over 200 million individuals worldwide are exposed to inorganic arsenic in drinking water and/or food at levels above the WHO provisional guideline value of 10 parts per billion (ppb). Furthermore, it raises public concern about the inhalation of inorganic arsenic in tobacco smoke and electronic cigarettes. We will utilize the epigenomic approach and experimental mice model to identify the unique set of lung and blood epigenetic signatures for allergic airway disease risk assessment that can be used to evaluate arsenic toxicities in the children and predict the risk in later life.