OBJECTIVES: Since the metabolism of the organochlorine pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) is not fully known in humans, we evaluated if circulating levels of a major breakdown product of DDT, p,p'-DDE, were related to genome-wide genetic and methylation variation in a population-based sample. METHODS: In the population-based Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS) study (1016 subjects all aged 70), circulating levels of p,p'-DDE were analyzed by high-resolution chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRGC/HRMS). Genetic variants were genotyped and imputed (1000 Genomes reference, March 2012 release). Methylation sites were assayed using the Illumina HumanMethylation450 array in whole blood. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) approach was applied. RESULTS: Evidence for genome-wide significant association with p,p'-DDE levels was observed only for a locus at chromosome 19 corresponding to the CYP2B6 gene (lead SNP rs7260538). Subjects being homozygote for the G allele showed a median level of 472ng/g lipid, while the corresponding level for those being homozygote for the T allele was 192ng/g lipid (p=1.5×10(-31)). An analysis conditioned on the lead SNP disclosed a distinct signal in the same gene (rs7255374, position chr19:41520351; p=2.2×10(-8)). A whole-genome methylation analysis showed one significant relationship vs. p,p'-DDE levels (p=6.2×10(-9)) located 7kb downstream the CYP2B6 gene (cg27089200, position chr19:41531976). This CpG-site was also related to the lead SNP (p=3.8×10(-35)), but mediated only 4% of the effect of the lead SNP on p,p'-DDE levels. CONCLUSION: Circulating levels of p,p'-DDE were related to genetic variation in the CYP2B6 gene in the general elderly population. DNA methylation in this gene is not closely linked to the p,p'-DDE levels.

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Journal article


Environ Int

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CYP2B6, DDE, GWAS, Metabolism, Methylation