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Periodontitis is a common chronic inflammatory condition that results in increased levels of inflammatory cytokines and inflammatory mediators. In addition to oral disease and tooth loss, it also causes low-grade systemic inflammation that contributes to development of systemic conditions including cardiovascular disease, pre-term birth, diabetes and cancer. Chronic inflammation is associated with epigenetic change, and it has been suggested that such changes can alter cell phenotypes in ways that contribute to both ongoing inflammation and development of associated pathologies. Here we show that exposure of human gingival fibroblasts to IL-1β increases expression of maintenance methyltransferase DNMT1 but decreases expression of de novo methyltransferase DNMT3a and the demethylating enzyme TET1, while exposure to PGE2 decreases expression of all three enzymes. IL-1β and PGE2 both affect global levels of DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation, as well as methylation of some specific CpG in inflammation-associated genes. The effects of IL-1β are independent of its ability to induce production of PGE2, and the effects of PGE2 on DNMT3a expression are mediated by the EP4 receptor. The finding that exposure of fibroblasts to IL-1β and PGE2 can result in altered expression of DNA methylating/demethylating enzymes and in changing patterns of DNA methylation suggests a mechanism through which inflammatory mediators might contribute to the increased risk of carcinogenesis associated with inflammation.

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International Immunopharmacology



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This article was published in Immunopharmacology, Volume 78.

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