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Early life exposure to lead (Pb) and changes in DNA methylation: relevance to Alzheimer’s disease

Syed Waseem Bihaqi


Recent advances in neuroepigenetics have revealed its essential role in governing body function and disease. Epigenetics regulates an array of mechanisms that are susceptible to undergoing alteration by intracellular or extracellular factors. DNA methylation, one of the most extensively studied epigenetic markers is involved in the regulation of gene expression and also plays a vital role in neuronal development. The epigenome is most vulnerable during early the embryonic stage and perturbation in DNA methylation during this period can result in a latent outcome which can persist during the entire lifespan. Accumulating evidence suggests that environmental insults during the developmental phase can impart changes in the DNA methylation landscape. Based on reports on human subjects and animal models this review will explore the evidence on how developmental exposure of the known environmental pollutant, lead (Pb), can induce changes in the DNA methylation of genes which later can induce development of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Corresponding author: Syed Waseem Bihaqi, PhD, George and Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience, University of Rhode Island, Avedisian Hall, Lab: 390, 7 Greenhouse Road, Kingston, RI 02881, USA

  1. Research funding: Author states no funding involved.

  2. Conflict of interest: Author states no conflict of interest.

  3. Informed consent: Informed consent is not applicable.

  4. Ethical approval: The conducted research is not related to either human or animal use.


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Received: 2018-11-20
Accepted: 2019-01-09
Published Online: 2019-02-02
Published in Print: 2019-06-26

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