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PLoS One. 2013 Apr 30;8(4):e62587. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062587. Print 2013.

A prospective study of LINE-1DNA methylation and development of adiposity in school-age children.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America.



Repetitive element DNA methylation is related to prominent obesity-related chronic diseases including cancer and cardiovascular disease; yet, little is known of its relation with weight status. We examined associations of LINE-1 DNA methylation with changes in adiposity and linear growth in a longitudinal study of school-age children from Bogotá, Colombia.


We quantified methylation of LINE-1 elements from peripheral leukocytes of 553 children aged 5-12 years at baseline using pyrosequencing technology. Anthropometric characteristics were measured periodically for a median of 30 months. We estimated mean change in three age-and sex-standardized indicators of adiposity: body mass index (BMI)-for-age Z-score, waist circumference Z-score, and subscapular-to-triceps skinfold thickness ratio Z-score according to quartiles of LINE-1 methylation using mixed effects regression models. We also examined associations with height-for-age Z-score.


There were non-linear, inverse relations of LINE-1 methylation with BMI-for-age Z-score and the skinfold thickness ratio Z-score. After adjustment for baseline age and socioeconomic status, boys in the lowest quartile of LINE-1 methylation experienced annual gains in BMI-for-age Z-score and skinfold thickness ratio Z-score that were 0.06 Z/year (P = 0.04) and 0.07 Z/year (P = 0.03), respectively, higher than those in the upper three quartiles. The relation of LINE-1 methylation and annual change in waist circumference followed a decreasing monotonic trend across the four quartiles (P trend = 0.02). DNA methylation was not related to any of the adiposity indicators in girls. There were no associations between LINE-1 methylation and linear growth in either sex.


Lower LINE-1 DNA methylation is related to development of adiposity in boys.

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