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Particulate matter air pollution and the expression of microRNAs and pro-inflammatory genes: Association and mediation among children in Jinan, China

Li, Jie, Wang, Ting, Wang, Yanhua, Xu, Mengmeng, Zhang, Liping, Li, Xinwei, Liu, Zhong, Gao, Sheng, Jia, Qiang, Fan, Yaochun, Wang, Zhenjie, Wu, Nan, Zhang, Xiao, Dai, Yufei, Kong, Fanling, Wang, Wenrui, Duan, Huawei
Journal of hazardous materials 2020 v.389 pp. 121843
Toll-like receptor 2, air pollution, at-risk population, blood serum, children, epidemiological studies, epigenetics, exposure assessment, gene expression, genes, health effects assessments, inflammation, interleukin-6, interleukin-8, leukocytes, messenger RNA, microRNA, particulates, China
Exposure to particulate matter (PM) has been associated with increased risk of various diseases, possibly through its effect on inflammatory response. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), an epigenetic mechanism regulating gene expression, can affect the expression of pro-inflammatory genes. However, few epidemiological studies have examined the impact of PM on inflammation-related miRNAs and their target mRNAs, especially among vulnerable population. We recruited 160 and 113 children from areas with different PM level in Jinan, China. We measured benzo[a]pyrene-r-7,t-8,t-9,c-10-tetrahydotetrol-albumin (BPDE-Alb) adducts in serum and the expression of 5 candidate miRNAs involved in inflammation regulation and 7 pro-inflammatory genes predicted to be their targets in leukocytes. Generally, children in the polluted area had higher miRNAs and lower mRNAs expression than those in the control area. An interquartile increase of BPDE-Alb adducts was associated with 12.66 %, 14.13 %, and 12.76 % higher of let-7a, miR-146a-5p, and miR-155-5p, as well as 21.61 %, 20.16 %, and 12.49 % lower of IL-6, CXCL8, and TLR2 mRNAs at false discovery rate<0.05, respectively. Additionally, let-7a, miR-146a-5p, and miR-155-5p were found to mediate the associations of BPDE-Alb adducts with IL-6 and/or TLR2 expression. Our findings suggested that PM exposure might attenuate inflammatory response among children in China, which was partly mediated by miRNAs regulating pro-inflammatory genes.