Maternal nutrition at conception modulates DNA methylation of human metastable epialleles. Nature Communications. April 29,2014; Dominguez-Salas P1, Moore SE1, Baker MS2, Bergen AW3, Cox SE1, Dyer RA4, Fulford AJ1, Guan Y5, Laritsky E2, Silver MJ1, Swan GE6, Zeisel SH7, Innis SM4, Waterland RA5, Prentice AM1, Hennig BJ1.
1MRC International Nutrition Group at MRC Keneba, The Gambia and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, EPH, LSHTM, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK.; 2Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, 1100 Bates Street, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.; 3Center for Health Sciences, SRI International, 333 Ravenswood Avenue, Menlo Park, California 94025-3493, USA.; 4Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, Room 179, Child and Family Institute, 950 West 28th Avenue Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V5Z 4H4.; 51] Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, 1100 Bates Street, Houston, Texas 77030, USA  Department of Molecular & Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.; 6Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305-5411, USA.; 7Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health and School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, 500 Laureate Way, Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081, USA.
In experimental animals, maternal diet during the periconceptional period influences the establishment of DNA methylation at metastable epialleles in the offspring, with permanent phenotypic consequences. Pronounced naturally occurring seasonal differences in the diet of rural Gambian women allowed us to test this in humans. We show that significant seasonal variations in methyl-donor nutrient intake of mothers around the time of conception influence 13 relevant plasma biomarkers. The level of several of these maternal biomarkers predicts increased/decreased methylation at metastable epialleles in DNA extracted from lymphocytes and hair follicles in infants postnatally. Our results demonstrate that maternal nutritional status during early pregnancy causes persistent and systemic epigenetic changes at human metastable epialleles.
PMID: 24781383 [PubMed – in process] PMCID: PMC4015319