Quantitative, high-resolution epigenetic profiling of CpG loci identifies associations with cord blood plasma homocysteine and birth weight in humans
Volume 6, Issue 1
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Pages 86 - 94http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/epi.6.1.13392
Authors: Anthony A. Fryer, Richard D. Emes, Khaled M.K. Ismail, Kim E. Haworth, Charles Mein, William D. Carroll and William E. Farrell View affiliations
Supplementation with folic acid during pregnancy is known to reduce the risk of neural tube defects and low birth weight. It is thought that folate and other one-carbon intermediates might secure these clinical effects via DNA methylation. We examined the effects of folate on the human methylome using quantitative interrogation of 27,578 CpG loci associated with 14,496 genes at single-nucleotide resolution across 12 fetal cord blood samples. Consistent with previous studies, the majority of CpG dinucleotides located within CpG islands exhibited hypo-methylation while those outside CpG islands showed mid-high methylation. However, for the first time in human samples, unbiased analysis of methylation across samples revealed a significant correlation of methylation patterns with plasma homocysteine, LINE-1 methylation and birth weight centile. Additionally, CpG methylation significantly correlated with either birth weight or LINE-1 methylation were predominantly located in CpG islands. These data indicate that levels of folate-associated intermediates in cord blood reflect their influence and consequences for the fetal epigenome and potentially on pregnancy outcome. In these cases, their influence might be exerted during late gestation or reflect those present during the peri-conceptual period.
Received: June 11, 2010; Accepted: August 21, 2010