DNA methylation changes in human lung epithelia cells exposed to multi-walled carbon nanotubes
Humans are increasingly exposed to nanoparticles and, although many of their physiological effects have been described, the molecular mechanisms underlying them are still largely unknown. The present study aimed to determine the possible role of certain epigenetic mechanisms in the cellular response of human lung epithelial cells that are triggered by long-term exposure to titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2NPs) and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). The results showed that exposure to TiO2NPs had only minor effects on genome-wide DNA methylation. However, we identified 755 CpG sites showing consistent DNA hypomethylation in cells exposed to MWCNTs. These sites were mainly located at low density CpG regions and enhancers, and very frequently on the X chromosome. Our results thus suggest that long-term MWCNT exposure may have important effects on the epigenome.