Online Program

Epigenetics and asthma among children: A meta-analysis

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Janvier Gasana, MD, MPH, PhD, Research Team, South Florida Asthma Consortium, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Aditya Stanam, MBBS, Human Toxicology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Dudith PIerre-Victor, BS, Research Team, South Florida Asthma COnsortium, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Melissa Howard, PhD, MPH, MCHES, Department of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Florida International University, Miami, FL
Background: The field of epigenetics has been providing some conclusive and consistent evidences in explaining causal relationship between environmental triggers, epigenetic changes and asthma. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression that occur without directly altering the DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms have the potential explain many mysterious in the pathogenesis of asthma like: 1) Susceptibility to pre-natal exposures, 2) Variable natural history of asthma, and 3) Reversible phenotypes. Some of the most common epigenetic mechanisms that are found to influence asthmatic phenotypes are: 1) DNA methylation, 2) Post-translational modification of histone proteins, and 3) non-coding RNAs. Method: A comprehensive literature search was conducted, with key words “Epigenetics”, “Asthma”, “Allergy”, and “Children” using PubMed, Medline, Highwire, CINAHL, and Google Scholar. The search resulted in 7 potential and full text articles including 6 epidemiological studies and 1 review article. Of all, 5 epidemiological studies and 1 review paper will be considered in the meta-analysis. Meta-analysis is being conducted and random effect models will be generated. Heterogeneity will be assessed. Results: Adjusting for exposure later in pregnancy and in infancy, the relative risk for children exposed to folic acid supplements in the first trimester for wheeze was 1.06 (95% CI 1.03 to 1.10), for lower respiratory tract infections was 1.09 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.15), for hospitalizations for lower respiratory tract infections was 1.24 (95% CI 1.09 to 1.41). The results suggest that methyl donors in the maternal diet during pregnancy may influence respiratory health in children consistent with epigenetic mechanisms. Conclusion: Maternal smoking cessation before pregnancy can greatly reduce the risk of childhood asthma. Epigenetics demands the application of new technologies to epidemiological studies to know more about the underlying mechanisms of asthma at molecular level and thus offers a great promise to understand a theoretically preventable disease.

Learning Areas:

Basic medical science applied in public health
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Environmental health sciences
Public health biology
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the use of epigenetics in pediatric asthma research. Identify the epigenetic mechanisms that explain the incidence and prevalence of pediatric asthma.

Keyword(s): Children, Asthma

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author on the content I am responsible for because I am a medical doctor who is doing research on pediatric asthma.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.