Chronic exposure to water pollutant trichloroethylene increased epigenetic drift in CD4(+) T cells
AIM: Autoimmune disease and CD4(+) T-cell alterations are induced in mice exposed to the water pollutant trichloroethylene (TCE). We examined here whether TCE altered gene-specific DNA methylation in CD4(+) T cells as a possible mechanism of immunotoxicity. MATERIALS & METHODS: Naive and effector/memory CD4(+) T cells from mice exposed to TCE (0.5 mg/ml in drinking water) for 40 weeks were examined by bisulfite next-generation DNA sequencing. RESULTS: A probabilistic model calculated from multiple genes showed that TCE decreased methylation control in CD4(+) T cells. Data from individual genes fitted to a quadratic regression model showed that TCE increased gene-specific methylation variance in both CD4 subsets. CONCLUSION: TCE increased epigenetic drift of specific CpG sites in CD4(+) T cells.