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Open AccessArticle

Epigenome-Wide Association Study Reveals Duration of Breastfeeding Is Associated with Epigenetic Differences in Children

1
Human Development and Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK
2
NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK
3
College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
4
Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Environmental Health, School of Public Health, University of Memphis, 236A Robison Hall, Memphis, TN 38152, USA
5
Clinical and Experimental Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK
6
The David Hide Asthma and Allergy Research Centre, St Mary’s Hospital, Isle of Wight PO30 5TG UK
7
School of Water, Energy and Environment, Cranfield University, Cranfield, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Contributed equally and share first authorship.
Co-senior author.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3569; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103569
Received: 20 March 2020 / Revised: 15 May 2020 / Accepted: 17 May 2020 / Published: 20 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Child and Adolescent Health in a Life-Course Perspective)
Several small studies have shown associations between breastfeeding and genome-wide DNA methylation (DNAm). We performed a comprehensive Epigenome-Wide Association Study (EWAS) to identify associations between breastfeeding and DNAm patterns in childhood. We analysed DNAm data from the Isle of Wight Birth Cohort at birth, 10, 18 and 26 years. The feeding method was categorized as breastfeeding duration >3 months and >6 months, and exclusive breastfeeding duration >3 months. EWASs using robust linear regression were performed to identify differentially methylated positions (DMPs) in breastfed and non-breastfed children at age 10 (false discovery rate of 5%). Differentially methylated regions (DMRs) were identified using comb-p. The persistence of significant associations was evaluated in neonates and individuals at 18 and 26 years. Two DMPs, in genes SNX25 and LINC00840, were significantly associated with breastfeeding duration >6 months at 10 years and was replicated for >3 months of exclusive breastfeeding. Additionally, a significant DMR spanning the gene FDFT1 was identified in 10-year-old children who were exposed to a breastfeeding duration >3 months. None of these signals persisted to 18 or 26 years. This study lends further support for a suggestive role of DNAm in the known benefits of breastfeeding on a child’s future health. View Full-Text
Keywords: Epigenome-Wide Association Study; EWAS; epigenetics; breastfeeding; breastfeeding duration; DNA methylation Epigenome-Wide Association Study; EWAS; epigenetics; breastfeeding; breastfeeding duration; DNA methylation
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Sherwood, W.B.; Kothalawala, D.M.; Kadalayil, L.; Ewart, S.; Zhang, H.; Karmaus, W.; Arshad, S.H.; Holloway, J.W.; Rezwan, F.I. Epigenome-Wide Association Study Reveals Duration of Breastfeeding Is Associated with Epigenetic Differences in Children. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 3569.

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