- WGBS data depict altered methylation of genes regulating bone development pathways.
- Fluoride causes diminished expression of BMP1, METAP2, MMP11 and BACH1 genes.
- These genes play a critical role in catabolic process of skeletal development.
- DNA hypermethylation of these critical genes thus promote skeletal fluorosis.
Fluoride is an essential trace element required for proper bone and tooth development [sic]. Systemic high exposure to fluoride through environmental exposure (drinking water and food) may result in toxicity causing a disorder called fluorosis. In the present study, we investigated the alteration in DNA methylation profile with chronic exposure (30 days) to fluoride (8?mg/l) and its relevance in the development of fluorosis. Whole genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) was carried out in human osteosarcoma cells (HOS) exposed to fluoride. Whole genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) and functional annotation of differentially methylated genes indicate alterations in methylation status of genes involved in biological processes associated with bone development pathways. Combined analysis of promoter DNA hyper methylation, STRING: functional protein association networks and gene expression analysis revealed epigenetic alterations in BMP1, METAP2, MMP11 and BACH1 genes, which plays a role in the extracellular matrix disassembly, collagen catabolic/organization process, skeletal morphogenesis/development, ossification and osteoblast development. The present study shows that fluoride causes promoter DNA hypermethylation in BMP1, METAP2, MMP11 and BACH1 genes with subsequent down-regulation in their expression level (RNA level). The results implies that fluoride induced DNA hypermethylation of these genes may hamper extracellular matrix deposition, cartilage formation, angiogenesis, vascular system development and porosity of bone, thus promote skeletal fluorosis.