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International journal of radiation biology

Radiation-induced changes in DNA methylation and their relationship to chromosome aberrations in nuclear power plant workers.


PMID 25264146

Abstract

We investigated the association between occupational radiation exposure and DNA methylation changes in nuclear power plant workers. We also evaluated whether radiation- induced DNA methylation alterations are associated with chromosome aberrations. The study population included 170 radiation-exposed workers and 30 controls. We measured global, long interspersed nuclear element-1 (LINE-1), and satellite 2 methylation levels in blood leukocyte DNA. The analysis of chromosome aberrations was performed on peripheral lymphocytes. Global DNA methylation levels were lower in radiation-exposed workers than in controls. The methylation levels were negatively associated with the recent 1.5-year radiation dose in a multiple linear regression model (β = - 0.0088, p ≤ 0.001); the levels increased proportionally with the total cumulative dose in radiation-exposed workers. LINE-1 methylation levels were higher in radiation-exposed workers than in controls and were significantly associated with the total cumulative radiation dose in a multiple linear regression model (β = - 0.031, p = 0.035). Global DNA methylation levels were also correlated with chromosome aberrations among workers. Workers with low global methylation levels had a higher frequency of chromosome aberrations than did subjects with high global methylation levels. Occupational exposure to low-dose radiation could affect DNA methylation levels, and the radiation-induced DNA methylation alterations may be associated with chromosome aberrations.