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Special Issue "Environmental Factors and Lifestyle Influence on Human Health: The Contribution of Epigenetic Mechanisms"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Valentina Bollati

EPIGET - Epidemiology, Epigenetics and Toxicology Lab -Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20122 Milan, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: epigenetics; DNA methylation; extracellular vesicles; microRNAs; mitochondrial copy number; telomere length; air pollution; heavy metals; benzene; cardiovascular and respiratory effects of air pollution

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The term lifestyle includes different factors, such as diet, behaviour, stress, physical activity, working habits, smoking and alcohol consumption. Increasing evidence shows that environmental and lifestyle factors may be associated with a variety of human diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular, respiratory, autoimmune, and neurological diseases. The search for a possible mechanism able to explain such associations has repeatedly pointed to epigenetics as a possible bridge between exposure and disease development. Epigenetic mechanisms are, in fact, flexible genomic parameters that can change genome function under exogenous influence but also provide a mechanism that allows for the stable propagation of gene activity states from one generation of cells to the next. In addition to what is strictly classified as epigenetics (for example DNA methylation, histone modifications and chromatin remodelling) other mechanism (such as microRNAs, extracellular vesicles) are starting to emerge as fundamental in this complex topic.

The goal of this Special Issue is to expand the current state of knowledge on these topics, to focus on the current gaps and help in the near future to bridge these gaps.

You are invited to submit manuscripts for consideration in this Special Issue. Contributions focused on epigenetic mechanisms, functional studies, development of new molecular markers of exposures as well as their possible impact on disease development, will be welcome. Studies on in vitro and in vivo models, such as investigating populations of subjects/patients, will be considered.

Prof. Dr. Valentina Bollati
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Epigenetics
  • DNA methylation
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • MicroRNAs
  • Environmental exposures
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Pathogenesis
  • Risk markers

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
DNA Methylation in Inflammatory Pathways Modifies the Association between BMI and Adult-Onset Non-Atopic Asthma
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(4), 600; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040600
Received: 20 November 2018 / Revised: 14 February 2019 / Accepted: 15 February 2019 / Published: 19 February 2019
PDF Full-text (1456 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
A high body mass (BMI) index has repeatedly been associated with non-atopic asthma, but the biological mechanism linking obesity to asthma is still poorly understood. We aimed to test the hypothesis that inflammation and/or innate immunity plays a role in the obesity-asthma link. [...] Read more.
A high body mass (BMI) index has repeatedly been associated with non-atopic asthma, but the biological mechanism linking obesity to asthma is still poorly understood. We aimed to test the hypothesis that inflammation and/or innate immunity plays a role in the obesity-asthma link. DNA methylome was measured in blood samples of 61 non-atopic participants with asthma and 146 non-atopic participants without asthma (non-smokers for at least 10 years) taking part in the Swiss Cohort Study on Air Pollution and Lung and Heart Diseases in Adults (SAPALDIA) study. Modification by DNA methylation of the association of BMI or BMI change over 10 years with adult-onset asthma was examined at each CpG site and differentially methylated region. Pathway enrichment tests were conducted for genes in a priori curated inflammatory pathways and the NLRP3-IL1B-IL17 axis. The latter was chosen on the basis of previous work in mice. Inflammatory pathways including glucocorticoid/PPAR signaling (p = 0.0023), MAPK signaling (p = 0.013), NF-κB signaling (p = 0.031), and PI3K/AKT signaling (p = 0.031) were enriched for the effect modification of BMI, while NLRP3-IL1B-IL17 axis was enriched for the effect modification of BMI change over 10 years (p = 0.046). DNA methylation measured in peripheral blood is consistent with inflammation as a link between BMI and adult-onset asthma and with the NLRP3-IL1B-IL17 axis as a link between BMI change over 10 years and adult-onset asthma in non-atopic participants. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Age-Related Differences in miRNA Expression in Mexican-American Newborns and Children
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(4), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040524
Received: 4 January 2019 / Revised: 6 February 2019 / Accepted: 8 February 2019 / Published: 13 February 2019
PDF Full-text (1782 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Epigenetic mechanisms have emerged as an important pathway through which environmental exposures can affect health through the regulation of gene expression without changes in DNA sequence: microRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs that target protein-coding mRNAs, leading to post-transcriptional repression. They are involved [...] Read more.
Epigenetic mechanisms have emerged as an important pathway through which environmental exposures can affect health through the regulation of gene expression without changes in DNA sequence: microRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs that target protein-coding mRNAs, leading to post-transcriptional repression. They are involved in important physiologic processes, but little is known about how miRNA expression may change with age in children. We used an nCounter miRNA assay to assess the expression of 43 miRNAs in buffy coat samples collected from newborns (n = 121) and 7-year-old (n = 142) children. We identified 36 miRNAs that were differentially expressed between newborns and 7-year-olds after controlling for blood cell composition. Using pathway analysis, we found that differentially expressed miRNAs targeted genes enriched for processes related to post-translational modifications, metabolism, and immune response. Our study found that unlike adults, where miRNA expression levels in peripheral blood may decrease with age, expression levels of most miRNAs increased from birth to mid-childhood. This may be reflective of the role miRNAs may play in the highly coordinated mechanisms regulating genes involved in children’s development. Furthermore, it will be important to adjust for both age and blood cell composition in future pediatric studies of miRNA expression in blood. Full article
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Figure 1

Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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