Novel DNA methylation sites associated with cigarette smoking among African Americans

Introduction: Cigarette smoking has been associated with adverse health outcomes for mothers and children and is a major contributor to heart disease. Although cigarette smoking is known to affect the epigenome, few studies have been done in African American populations. In this study, we investigated the association between cigarette smoking and DNA methylation (DNAm) among African Americans from the Intergenerational Impact of Genetic and Psychological Factors on Blood Pressure Study (InterGEN), and the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA).Methods: The InterGEN study aims to examine the effects of genetic and psychological factors on blood pressure among African American women and their children. Current cigarette smoking was assessed at baseline. DNAm of saliva was assessed using the 850K EPIC Illumina BeadChip for Epigenome-Wide Association analyses. A replication study was conducted among 1100 participants in the GENOA study using the same BeadChip.Results: After controlling for age, body mass index, population structure and cell composition, 26 epigenome-wide significant sites (FDR q < 0.05) were identified, including the AHRR and PHF14 genes associated with atherosclerosis and lung disease, respectively. Six novel CpG sites were discovered in the InterGEN sample and replicated in the GENOA sample. Genes mapped include RARA, FSIP1, ALPP, PIK3R5, KIAA0087, and MGAT3, which were largely associated with cancer development.Conclusion: We observed significant epigenetic associations between smoking and disease-associated genes (e.g., cardiovascular disease, lung cancer). Six novel CpG sites were identified and replicated across saliva and blood samples.