DNA methylation mediates the impact of exposure to prenatal maternal stress on BMI and central adiposity in children at age 13½ years: Project Ice Storm.

TitleDNA methylation mediates the impact of exposure to prenatal maternal stress on BMI and central adiposity in children at age 13½ years: Project Ice Storm.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsCao-Lei L, Dancause KN, Elgbeili G, Massart R, Szyf M, Liu A, Laplante DP, King S
JournalEpigenetics
Volume10
Issue8
Pagination749-61
Date Published2015
ISSN1559-2308
KeywordsAdiposity, Adolescent, Body Mass Index, DNA Methylation, Epigenesis, Genetic, Female, Humans, Male, Maternal Exposure, Obesity, Pregnancy, Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects, Quebec, Stress, Psychological
Abstract

Prenatal maternal stress (PNMS) in animals and humans predicts obesity and metabolic dysfunction in the offspring. Epigenetic modification of gene function is considered one possible mechanism by which PNMS results in poor outcomes in offspring. Our goal was to determine the role of maternal objective exposure and subjective distress on child BMI and central adiposity at 13½ years of age, and to test the hypothesis that DNA methylation mediates the effect of PNMS on growth. Mothers were pregnant during the January 1998 Quebec ice storm. We assessed their objective exposure and subjective distress in June 1998. At age 13½ their children were weighed and measured (n = 66); a subsample provided blood samples for epigenetic studies (n = 31). Objective and subjective PNMS correlated with central adiposity (waist-to-height ratio); only objective PNMS predicted body mass index (BMI). Bootstrapping analyses showed that the methylation level of genes from established Type-1 and -2 diabetes mellitus pathways showed significant mediation of the effect of objective PNMS on both central adiposity and BMI. However, the negative mediating effects indicate that, although greater objective PNMS predicts greater BMI and adiposity, this effect is dampened by the effects of objective PNMS on DNA methylation, suggesting a protective role of the selected genes from Type-1 and -2 diabetes mellitus pathways. We provide data supporting that DNA methylation is a potential mechanism involved in the long-term adaptation and programming of the genome in response to early adverse environmental factors.

DOI10.1080/15592294.2015.1063771
Alternate JournalEpigenetics
PubMed ID26098974
PubMed Central IDPMC4623010
Grant List / / Canadian Institutes of Health Research / Canada

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