Maternal educational attainment in pregnancy and epigenome-wide DNA methylation changes in the offspring from birth until adolescence.

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Maternal educational attainment (MEA) shapes offspring health through multiple potential pathways. Differential DNA methylation may provide a mechanistic understanding of these long-term associations. We aimed to quantify the associations of MEA with offspring DNA methylation levels at birth, in childhood and in adolescence. Using 37 studies from high-income countries, we performed meta-analysis of epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) to quantify the associations of completed years of MEA at the time of pregnancy with offspring DNA methylation levels at birth (n = 9 881), in childhood (n = 2 017), and adolescence (n = 2 740), adjusting for relevant covariates. MEA was found to be associated with DNA methylation at 473 cytosine-phosphate-guanine sites at birth, one in childhood, and four in adolescence. We observed enrichment for findings from previous EWAS on maternal folate, vitamin-B concentrations, maternal smoking, and pre-pregnancy BMI. The associations were directionally consistent with MEA being inversely associated with behaviours including smoking and BMI. Our findings form a bridge between socio-economic factors and biology and highlight potential pathways underlying effects of maternal education. The results broaden our understanding of bio-social associations linked to differential DNA methylation in multiple early stages of life. The data generated also offers an important resource to help a more precise understanding of the social determinants of health.

Mol Psychiatry
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Maternal educational attainment in pregnancy and epigenome-wide DNA methylation changes in the offspring from birth until adolescence.
Choudhary P, Monasso GS, Karhunen V, Ronkainen J, Mancano G, Howe CG, Niu Z, Zeng X, Guan W, Dou J, Feinberg JI, Mordaunt C, Pesce G, Baïz N, Alfano R, Martens DS, Wang C, Isaevska E, Keikkala E, Mustaniemi S, Thio CHL, Fraszczyk E, Tobi EW, Starling AP, Cosin-Tomas M, Urquiza J, Röder S, Hoang TT, Page C, Jima DD, House JS, Maguire RL, Ott R, Pawlow X, Sirignano L, Zillich L, Malmberg A, Rauschert S, Melton P, Gong T, Karlsson R, Fore R, Perng W, Laubach ZM, Czamara D, Sharp G, Breton CV, Schisterman E, Yeung E, Mumford SL, Fallin MD, LaSalle JM, Schmidt RJ, Bakulski KM, Annesi-Maesano I, Heude B, Nawrot TS, Plusquin M, Ghantous A, Herceg Z, Nisticò L, Vafeiadi M, Kogevinas M, Vääräsmäki M, Kajantie E, Snieder H, Corpeleijn E, Steegers-Theunissen RPM, Yang IV, Dabelea D, Fossati S, Zenclussen AC, Herberth G, Magnus M, Håberg SE, London SJ, Munthe-Kaas MC, Murphy SK, Hoyo C, Ziegler AG, Hummel S, Witt SH, Streit F, Frank J, Räikkönen K, Lahti J, Huang RC, Almqvist C, Hivert MF, Jaddoe VWV, Järvelin MR, Kantomaa M, Felix JF, Sebert S