Maternal obesity linked to childhood weight issues through DNA changes


In a latest examine printed within the journal BMC Medicine, researchers examine the impression of maternal pre-pregnancy chubby or weight problems (OWO) on new child wire blood deoxyribonucleic acid methylation (DNAm) and its potential position in intergenerational weight problems danger in a high-risk United States demographic.

Research: Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI, offspring epigenome-wide DNA methylation, and childhood obesity: findings from the Boston Birth Cohort. Picture Credit score: Mala Iryna /

Rising charges of childhood weight problems

Childhood weight problems within the U.S. rose from 18.5% between 2015-2016 to 19.7% between 2017-2020. This at the moment quantities to a complete of 14.7 million youngsters, with increased charges of childhood weight problems noticed in racial minorities. Maternal pre-pregnancy weight problems, which happens in about 25% of U.S. conceptions, is a number one danger issue for childhood weight problems.

Regardless of solutions that maternal weight problems could trigger epigenetic alterations that affect baby weight problems, there stays a scarcity of conclusive analysis supporting these claims. So far, only some research have linked maternal physique mass index (BMI), fetal DNAm, and childhood BMI, whereas different research have reported differing outcomes and sometimes ignored notable danger components like smoking.

Thus, further analysis is required to find out the epigenetics of childhood weight problems as a result of maternal pre-pregnancy weight problems, notably in underrepresented racial teams within the U.S., to in the end information focused interventions.

In regards to the examine

The current examine utilized 903 mother-child pairs from the Boston Start Cohort (BBC), which primarily encompasses city and low-income minorities. Initiated in 1998, moms delivering single births at Boston Medical Middle had been included, whereas moms with twins, triplets, or infants born with vital congenital disabilities had been excluded from the evaluation.

BBC particularly focused low birthweight and untimely births for its examine. Moms supplied knowledge relating to their socio-demographics, life-style habits, and medical histories following supply.

Twine blood samples had been collected and subsequently fractionated into plasma, white blood cells, and pink blood cells, all of which had been saved at -80° C. DNA methylation was measured in 963 wire blood samples utilizing a particular Illumina BeadChip, following which samples had been profiled for methylation by means of rigorous high quality management processes. After a number of filtering steps, 903 samples with particular cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) websites had been analyzed.

Knowledge on maternal weight earlier than being pregnant and smoking habits throughout being pregnant had been obtained from the moms. The BMI of all youngsters between start to 18 years was additionally analyzed, with OWO outlined as BMI above the 85th percentile for age and gender.

The analytical methodology concerned evaluating the demographics of newborns to maternal pre-pregnancy BMI, figuring out differentially methylated websites linked to maternal BMI, and executing mediation analyses. The mediation evaluation aimed to find out the extent to which the affect of maternal BMI on baby weight problems danger was as a result of methylation at a particular locus.

Research findings

A complete of 903 mother-child duos had been included within the closing evaluation, of whom 71% of moms recognized as Black. Boys comprised 52.9% of the kid individuals. The median pre-pregnancy BMI was 26.62 kg/m2.

About 53% of moms had a pre-pregnancy OWO standing, whereas 63.2% of kids had been thought of OWO between one and 18 years of age. In comparison with non-OWO moms, OWO moms had been extra prone to be older, Black, and people who smoke. Kids born to those OWO moms had been additionally extra prone to be thought of OWO between one and 18 years of age.

Eight CpG websites corresponded to 6 genes and had been considerably related to maternal BMI. The best hypermethylated distinction for every single unit improve in maternal BMI was associated to the tumor protein P53 inducible nuclear protein 1 (TP53INP1) gene. Different notable hypermethylated CpG websites had been noticed within the phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) and KILLIN genes.

Comparatively, hypomethylated genes recognized in newborns born to moms with increased BMIs had been noticed within the alpha- and gamma-adaptin binding protein (AAGAB), alpha kinase 1 (ALPK1), and excision restore cross-complementation group 8 (ERCC8) genes.

A complete of 481 CpG websites with altered DNAm in newborns had been related to maternal BMI. The annotated genes of those CpG websites had been related to hematocrit, triglycerides, and tobacco use dysfunction. Of those 481 CpG websites, 26 had been related to new child start weight; nonetheless, none of those CpG websites had a big mediation impact on the affiliation between maternal BMI and start weight.

Fourteen CpG websites had a big mediation impact on the affiliation between maternal BMI and baby OWO in at the least one age group. Extra particularly, between seven and 9 years of age, eight CpG websites mediated this affiliation, whereas 5 CpG websites mediated this affiliation by 13 years of age. The mediating proportions in these age teams ranged from 4.38-25.21% and three.99-10.57%, respectively.

Maternal smoking didn’t have a big mediation impact on methylation at any of the recognized CpG websites.

Journal reference:

  • Si, J., Meir, A.Y., Hong, X. et al. (2023). Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI, offspring epigenome-wide DNA methylation, and childhood weight problems: findings from the Boston Start Cohort. BMC Medication. doi:10.1186/s12916-023-03003-5
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