Background: We examined whether the effect of maternal smoking during pregnancy on birthweight of the offspring was mediated by smoking-induced changes to DNA methylation in cord blood.
Methods: First, we used cord blood of 129 Dutch children exposed to maternal smoking vs 126 unexposed to maternal and paternal smoking (53% male) participating in the GECKO Drenthe birth cohort. DNA methylation was measured using the Illumina HumanMethylation450 Beadchip. We performed an epigenome-wide association study for the association between maternal smoking and methylation followed by a mediation analysis of the top signals [false-discovery rate (FDR)
Results: We found 35 differentially methylated CpGs (FDR
Conclusions: Maternal smoking during pregnancy was associated with cord blood methylation differences. We observed a potentially mediating role of methylation in the association between maternal smoking during pregnancy and birthweight of the offspring. Functional network analysis suggested a role in activating the immune system.
- Epigenetic epidemiology
- epigenome-wide association study
- fetal programming
- Generation R
- CORD BLOOD