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Folate and vitamin B12 status: associations with maternal glucose and neonatal DNA methylation sites related to dysglycaemia, in pregnant women with obesity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

UPBEAT Consortium

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
E-pub ahead of print11 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: We thank the Pedigree and Population Resource of Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah (funded in part by the Huntsman Cancer Foundation) for its role in the ongoing collection, maintenance and support of the Utah Population Database (UPDB). We also acknowledge partial support for the UPDB through grant P30 CA2014 from the National Cancer Institute , University of Utah and from the University of Utah 's program in Personalized Health and Center for Clinical and Translational Science . Publisher Copyright: © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press in association with International Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


Recent studies implicate maternal gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in differential methylation of infant DNA. Folate and vitamin B12 play a role in DNA methylation, and these vitamins may also influence GDM risk. The aims of this study were to determine folate and vitamin B12 status in obese pregnant women and investigate associations between folate and vitamin B12 status, maternal dysglycaemia and neonatal DNA methylation at cytosine-phosphate-guanine sites previously observed to be associated with dysglycaemia. Obese pregnant women who participated in the UK Pregnancies Better Eating and Activity Trial were included. Serum folate and vitamin B12 were measured at the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) visit. Cord blood DNA methylation was assessed using the Infinium MethylationEPIC BeadChip. Regression models with adjustment for confounders were used to examine associations. Of the 951 women included, 356 (37.4%) were vitamin B12 deficient, and 44 (4.6%) were folate deficient. Two-hundred and seventy-one women (28%) developed GDM. Folate and vitamin B12 concentrations were not associated with neonatal DNA methylation. Higher folate was positively associated with 1-h plasma glucose after OGTT (β = 0.031, 95% CI 0.001-0.061, p = 0.045). There was no relationship between vitamin B12 and glucose concentrations post OGTT or between folate or vitamin B12 and GDM. In summary, we found no evidence to link folate and vitamin B12 status with the differential methylation of neonatal DNA previously observed in association with dysglycaemia. We add to the evidence that folate status may be related to maternal glucose homoeostasis although replication in other maternal cohorts is required for validation.

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