A meta-analysis of pre-pregnancy maternal body mass index and placental DNA methylation identifies 27 CpG sites with implications for mother-child health

Nora Fernandez-Jimenez, Ruby Fore, Ariadna Cilleros-Portet, Johanna Lepeule, Patrice Perron, Tuomas Kvist, Fu Ying Tian, Corina Lesseur, Alexandra M. Binder, Manuel Lozano, Jordi Martorell-Marugán, Yuk J. Loke, Kelly M. Bakulski, Yihui Zhu, Anne Forhan, Sara Sammallahti, Todd M. Everson, Jia Chen, Karin B. Michels, Thalia BelmontePedro Carmona-Sáez, Jane Halliday, M. Daniele Fallin, Janine M. LaSalle, Jorg Tost, Darina Czamara, Mariana F. Fernández, Antonio Gómez-Martín, Jeffrey M. Craig, Beatriz Gonzalez-Alzaga, Rebecca J. Schmidt, John F. Dou, Evelyne Muggli, Marina Lacasaña, Martine Vrijheid, Carmen J. Marsit, Margaret R. Karagas, Katri Räikkönen, Luigi Bouchard, Barbara Heude, Loreto Santa-Marina, Mariona Bustamante, Marie France Hivert, Jose Ramon Bilbao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Higher maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index (ppBMI) is associated with increased neonatal morbidity, as well as with pregnancy complications and metabolic outcomes in offspring later in life. The placenta is a key organ in fetal development and has been proposed to act as a mediator between the mother and different health outcomes in children. The overall aim of the present work is to investigate the association of ppBMI with epigenome-wide placental DNA methylation (DNAm) in 10 studies from the PACE consortium, amounting to 2631 mother-child pairs. We identify 27 CpG sites at which we observe placental DNAm variations of up to 2.0% per 10 ppBMI-unit. The CpGs that are differentially methylated in placenta do not overlap with CpGs identified in previous studies in cord blood DNAm related to ppBMI. Many of the identified CpGs are located in open sea regions, are often close to obesity-related genes such as GPX1 and LGR4 and altogether, are enriched in cancer and oxidative stress pathways. Our findings suggest that placental DNAm could be one of the mechanisms by which maternal obesity is associated with metabolic health outcomes in newborns and children, although further studies will be needed in order to corroborate these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1313
JournalCommunications Biology
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2022

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