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Epigenomics. 2019 Sep 11. doi: 10.2217/epi-2019-0040. [Epub ahead of print]

Socioeconomic status and DNA methylation from birth through mid-childhood: a prospective study in Project Viva.

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Department of Integrative Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA.
Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, Anschutz Medical Center, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.
Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School/Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Boston, MA 02215, USA.
Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Center for Chest Diseases, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Division of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine, Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.
Centre for Environment & Health, Department of Public Health & Primary Care, University of Leuven (KU Leuven), 3000, Belgium.
IDEWE, External Service for Prevention at Protection at Work, Heverlee, 3001, Belgium.
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Aim: We investigated associations of prenatal socioeconomic status (SES) with DNA methylation at birth, and to explore persistence of associations into early (∼3 years) and mid-childhood (∼7 years) among 609 mother-child pairs in a Boston-area prebirth cohort. Materials & methods: First, we created a prenatal SES index comprising individual- and neighborhood-level metrics and examined associations of low (lowest 10%) versus high (upper 90%) SES with genome-wide DNA methylation in cord blood via the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip. Next, we evaluated persistence of associations detected in cord blood with DNA methylation of the same CpG sites measured in peripheral leukocytes in early- and mid-childhood. Results & conclusion: Low prenatal SES was associated with methylation at CpG sites near ACSF3, TNRC6C-AS1, MTMR4 and LRRN4. The relationship with LRRN4 persisted into early childhood.


DNA methylation; developmental origins of health and disease; epigenome-wide association study; pediatric cohort; socioeconomic status


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