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Nutrients 2016, 8(8), 474;

Maternal Methyl-Group Donor Intake and Global DNA (Hydroxy)Methylation before and during Pregnancy

KU Leuven, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Environment and Health, Kapucijnenvoer 35 blok D box 7001, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Flemish Institute of Technological Research (VITO), Unit Environmental Risk and Health, Boeretang 200, 2400 Mol, Belgium
KU Leuven, Department of Development and Regeneration, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospitals of Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
KU Leuven, Center for Molecular and Vascular Biology, UZ Herestraat 49-box 911, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
AML Laboratory, Department of Endocrinology, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
KU Leuven, Unit Clinical and Experimental Endocrinology, UZ Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
International Agency for Research on Cancer, Dietary Exposure Assessment Group, 150 Cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon CEDEX 08, France
IDEWE, External Service for Prevention and Protection at Work, Interleuvenlaan 58, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 June 2016 / Revised: 14 July 2016 / Accepted: 21 July 2016 / Published: 6 August 2016
PDF [1641 KB, uploaded 6 August 2016]


It is still unclear to which extent methyl-group intake during pregnancy can affect maternal global DNA (hydroxyl)methylation. Pregnancy methylation profiling and its link with methyl-group intake in a healthy population could enhance our understanding of the development of pregnancy related disorders. One hundred forty-eight women were enrolled in the MANOE (MAternal Nutrition and Offspring’s Epigenome) study. Thiry-four women were enrolled before pregnancy and 116 during the first trimester of pregnancy. Global DNA (hydroxy)methylation in blood using LC-MS/MS and dietary methyl-group intake (methionine, folate, betaine, and choline) using a food-frequency questionnaire were estimated pre-pregnancy, during each trimester, and at delivery. Global DNA (hydroxy)methylation levels were highest pre-pregnancy and at weeks 18–22 of pregnancy. We observed a positive relation between folic acid and global DNA methylation (p = 0.04) and hydroxymethylation (p = 0.04). A high intake of methionine pre-pregnancy and in the first trimester showed lower (hydroxy)methylation percentage in weeks 11–13 and weeks 18–22, respectively. Choline and betaine intake in the first weeks was negatively associated with hydroxymethylation. Women with a high intake of these three methyl groups in the second and third trimester showed higher hyrdoxymethylation/methylation levels in the third trimester. To conclude, a time trend in DNA (hydroxy)methylation was found and women with higher methyl-group intake showed higher methylation in the third trimester, and not in earlier phases of pregnancy. View Full-Text
Keywords: methyl-group donor; global DNA methylation; global DNA hydroxymethylation; pregnancy methyl-group donor; global DNA methylation; global DNA hydroxymethylation; pregnancy

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Pauwels, S.; Duca, R.C.; Devlieger, R.; Freson, K.; Straetmans, D.; Van Herck, E.; Huybrechts, I.; Koppen, G.; Godderis, L. Maternal Methyl-Group Donor Intake and Global DNA (Hydroxy)Methylation before and during Pregnancy. Nutrients 2016, 8, 474.

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