Contrasting Association of Maternal Plasma Biomarkers of Smoking and 1-Carbon Micronutrients with Offspring DNA Methylation: Evidence of Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Repressor Gene–Smoking–Folate Interaction

Richard Xu, Xiumei Hong, Christine Ladd-Acosta, Jessie P. Buckley, Giehae Choi, Guoying Wang, Wenpin Hou, Xiaobin Wang, Liming Liang, Hongkai Ji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Maternal prenatal smoking is known to alter offspring DNA methylation (DNAm). However, there are no effective interventions to mitigate smoking-induced DNAm alteration. Objectives: This study investigated whether 1-carbon nutrients (folate, vitamins B6, and B12) can protect against prenatal smoking-induced offspring DNAm alterations in the aryl hydrocarbon receptor repressor (AHRR) (cg05575921), GFI1 (cg09935388), and CYP1A1 (cg05549655) genes. Methods: This study included mother-newborn dyads from a racially diverse US birth cohort. The cord blood DNAm at the above 3 sites were derived from a previous study using the Illumina Infinium MethylationEPIC BeadChip. Maternal smoking was assessed by self-report and plasma biomarkers (hydroxycotinine and cotinine). Maternal plasma folate, and vitamins B6 and B12 concentrations were obtained shortly after delivery. Linear regressions, Bayesian kernel machine regression, and quantile g-computation were applied to test the study hypothesis by adjusting for covariables and multiple testing. Results: The study included 834 mother-newborn dyads (16.7% of newborns exposed to maternal smoking). DNAm at cg05575921 (AHRR) and at cg09935388 (GFI1) was inversely associated with maternal smoking biomarkers in a dose-response fashion (all P < 7.01 × 10−13). In contrast, cg05549655 (CYP1A1) was positively associated with maternal smoking biomarkers (P < 2.4 × 10−6). Folate concentrations only affected DNAm levels at cg05575921 (AHRR, P = 0.014). Regression analyses showed that compared with offspring with low hydroxycotinine exposure (<0.494) and adequate maternal folate concentrations (quartiles 2–4), an offspring with high hydroxycotinine exposure (≥0.494) and low folate concentrations (quartile 1) had a significant reduction in DNAm at cg05575921 (M-value, ß ± SE = −0.801 ± 0.117, P = 1.44 × 10−11), whereas adequate folate concentrations could cut smoking-induced hypomethylation by almost half. Exposure mixture models further supported the protective role of adequate folate concentrations against smoking-induced aryl hydrocarbon receptor repressor (AHRR) hypomethylation. Conclusions: This study found that adequate maternal folate can attenuate maternal smoking-induced offspring AHRR cg05575921 hypomethylation, which has been previously linked to a range of pediatric and adult diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2339-2351
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume153
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Keywords

  • 1-carbon micronutrients
  • DNA methylation
  • aryl hydrocarbon receptor repressor gene
  • folate concentrations
  • maternal smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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