DNA methylation biomarkers prospectively predict both antenatal and postpartum depression

Jennifer L. Payne, Lauren M. Osborne, Olivia Cox, John Kelly, Samantha Meilman, Ilenna Jones, Winston Grenier, Karen Clark, Evelyn Ross, Rachel McGinn, Pathik D. Wadhwa, Sonja Entringer, Anne L. Dunlop, Anna K. Knight, Alicia K. Smith, Claudia Buss, Zachary A. Kaminsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We sought to replicate and expand upon previous work demonstrating antenatal TTC9B and HP1BP3 gene DNA methylation is prospectively predictive of postpartum depression (PPD) with ~80% accuracy. In a preterm birth study from Emory, Illumina MethylEPIC microarray derived 1st but not 3rd trimester biomarker models predicted 3rd trimester Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) scores ≥ 13 with an AUC=0.8 (95% CI: 0.63–0.8). Bisulfite pyrosequencing derived biomarker methylation was generated using bisulfite pyrosequencing across all trimesters in a pregnancy cohort at UC Irvine and in 3rd trimester from an independent Johns Hopkins pregnancy cohort. A support vector machine model incorporating 3rd trimester EPDS scores, TTC9B, and HP1BP3 methylation status predicted 4 week to 6 week postpartum EPDS ≥ 13 from 3rd trimester blood in the UC Irvine cohort (AUC=0.78, 95% CI: 0.64–0.78) and from the Johns Hopkins cohort (AUC=0.84, 95% CI: 0.72–0.97), both independent of previous psychiatric diagnosis. Technical replicate predictions in a subset of the Johns Hopkins cohort exhibited strong cross experiment correlation. This study confirms the PPD prediction model has the potential to be developed into a clinical tool enabling the identification of pregnant women at future risk of PPD who may benefit from clinical intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112711
JournalPsychiatry research
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Antenatal depression
  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetic
  • HP1BP3
  • Postpartum depression
  • TTC9B
  • biomarker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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