Maternal B vitamins: effects on offspring weight and DNA methylation at genomically imprinted domains.
BACKGROUND: Inadequate maternal nutrition during early fetal development can create permanent alterations in the offspring, leading to poor health outcomes. While nutrients involved in one-carbon cycle metabolism are important to fetal growth, associations with specific nutrients remain inconsistent. This study estimates associations between maternal vitamins B12, B6 (pyridoxal phosphate [PLP] and 4-pyridoxic acid [PA]), and homocysteine (Hcy) concentrations, offspring weight (birth weight and 3-year weight gain), and DNA methylation at four differentially methylated regions (DMRs) known to be involved in fetal growth and development (H19, MEG3, SGCE/PEG10, and PLAGL1). METHODS: Study participants (n = 496) with biomarker and birth weight data were enrolled as part of the Newborn Epigenetics STudy. Weight gain data were available for 273 offspring. Among 484 mother-infant pairs, DNA methylation at regulatory sequences of genomically imprinted genes was measured in umbilical cord blood DNA using bisulfite pyrosequencing. We used generalized linear models to estimate associations. RESULTS: Multivariate adjusted regression models revealed an inverse association between maternal Hcy concentration and male birth weight (β = -210.40, standard error (SE) = 102.08, p = 0.04). The offspring of the mothers in the highest quartile of B12 experienced lower weight gain between birth and 3 years compared to the offspring of the mothers in the lowest (β = -2203.03, SE = 722.49, p = 0.003). Conversely, maternal PLP was associated with higher weight gain in males; higher maternal PLP concentrations were also associated with offspring DNA methylation levels at the MEG3 DMR (p < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: While maternal concentrations of B12, B6, and Hcy do not associate with birth weight overall, they may play an important role in 3-year weight gain. This is the first study to report an association between maternal PLP and methylation at the MEG3 DMR which may be an important epigenetic tag for maternal B vitamin adequacy.
McCullough, LE; Miller, EE; Mendez, MA; Murtha, AP; Murphy, SK; Hoyo, C
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