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Lifestyle Intervention in Pregnant Women With Obesity Impacts Cord Blood DNA Methylation Which Associates With Body Composition in the Offspring

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  • Josefine Jönsson
  • Kristina M Renault
  • Sonia García-Calzón
  • Alexander Perfilyev
  • Angela C Estampador
  • Kirsten Nørgaard
  • Mads Vendelbo Lind
  • Allan Vaag
  • Line Hjort
  • Kim F Michaelsen
  • Emma Malchau Carlsen
  • Paul W Franks
  • Charlotte Ling
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Maternal obesity may lead to epigenetic alterations in the offspring and might thereby contribute to disease later in life. We investigated whether a lifestyle intervention in pregnant women with obesity is associated with epigenetic variation in cord blood and body composition in the offspring. Genome-wide DNA methylation was analyzed in cord blood from 208 offspring from the Treatment of Obese Pregnant women (TOP)-study, which includes pregnant women with obesity randomized to lifestyle interventions comprised of physical activity with or without dietary advice versus control subjects (standard of care). DNA methylation was altered at 379 sites, annotated to 370 genes, in cord blood from offspring of mothers following a lifestyle intervention versus control subjects (false discovery rate [FDR] <5%) when using the Houseman reference-free method to correct for cell composition, and three of these sites were significant based on Bonferroni correction. These 370 genes are overrepresented in gene ontology terms, including response to fatty acids and adipose tissue development. Offspring of mothers included in a lifestyle intervention were born with more lean mass compared with control subjects. Methylation at 17 sites, annotated to, for example, DISC1, GBX2, HERC2, and HUWE1, partially mediates the effect of the lifestyle intervention on lean mass in the offspring (FDR <5%). Moreover, 22 methylation sites were associated with offspring BMI z scores during the first 3 years of life (P < 0.05). Overall, lifestyle interventions in pregnant women with obesity are associated with epigenetic changes in offspring, potentially influencing the offspring's lean mass and early growth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number200487
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)854-866
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the American Diabetes Association.

This record is sourced from MEDLINE/PubMed, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

ID: 61731239