Low socioeconomic status (SES) and unfavorable neighborhood conditions are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The persistent stress associated with socioeconomic and neighborhood exposures may lead to dysregulation
of the stress reactivity and inflammatory pathways, potentially mediated through epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation. In this talk, findings from recent candidate gene and epigenome-wide association study (EWAS) approaches using data from the Multi-Ethnic
Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) will be presented. These studies demonstrate that adult and childhood SES, neighborhood-level SES, and neighborhood social environment are associated with alterations in the methylation and consequent gene expression of stress-
and inflammation-related genes. Newly developed high-dimensional statistical methods for evaluating epigenetics as a mediator between SES/neighborhood conditions and cardiovascular risk factors will also be discussed.