Epigenetics, Nutrition and Growth

Epigenetics, Nutrition and Growth

We present to you the fifth chapter of the N&G 2022 Yearbook!

Meet the authors, find out more about their topic and download the full book.

Epigenetics, Nutrition and Growth

by

Berthold Koletzko and Mohammed El Sharkawy 

Bertold Koletzko
Berthold Koletzko
Elsharkawy-Dr.-Mohamed
Mohammed El Sharkawy

Introduction

Convincing evidence has accumulated to demonstrate a variety of early developmental programming effects of environmental stimuli, including metabolic and nutritional exposures, on the developing organism, with lasting effects on later health, well-being, performance and disease risks up until old age. Exposure before and during pregnancy and in infancy and childhood appear to be particularly impactful. Epigenetic biochemical modifications of the human genome are a key mechanism regulating gene expression and hence biological functions, and could be one important mechanism underlying lasting metabolic programming effects of early exposures on later outcomes. We performed a search in the US National Library of Medicine (PubMed) with the search terms “(epigenetic*) AND ((nutrit*) OR (growth))” and filter “human” for the years 2020 and 2021, which revealed 2,641 hits. These were hand searched by B.K., and 13 publications were subjectively selected based on interest and relevance to human nutrition and growth. In the human studies found, DNA methylation (DNAm), a particularly stable epigenetic mechanism, was the most widely studied epigenetic modification. Most of the published studies were of an observational nature, whereas only relatively limited data are available on DNAm effects of randomized controlled interventions. Eight of the included studies relate to prenatal
exposures, whereas five relate to postnatal life, reflecting our overall impression that more research focusses on studies performed in pregnancy and at birth. Exploring in more detail the impact of exposures during infancy and childhood may offer further opportunities,
considering the potential for preventive interventions.

Key Referenced Articles

Association of maternal DNA methylation and offspring birthweight
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Lifestyle intervention in pregnant women with obesity impacts cord blood DNA
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Diabetes 2021;70:854–866
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Study Group
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Epigenome-wide association meta-analysis of DNA methylation with coffee and
tea consumption
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Effect of prenatal exposure to phthalates on epigenome-wide DNA methylations in cord blood and implications for fetal growth: the Hokkaido Study on Environment and Children’s Health
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IGF1 gene is epigenetically activated in preterm infants with intrauterine growth restriction
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Clin Epigenetics 2020;12:108
Association between breastfeeding and DNA methylation over the life course: findings from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)
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Nutrients 2020;12:3309
Epigenome-wide association of infant feeding and changes in DNA methylation from birth to 10 years
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Nutrients 2020;13:99
Shared DNA methylation signatures in childhood allergy: the MeDALL study
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Childhood DNA methylation as a marker of early life rapid weight gain and subsequent overweight
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Pearce MS, Relton CL, Albani V, McKay JA
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DNA methylation and body mass index from birth to adolescence: meta-analyses of epigenome-wide association studies
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Genome Med 2020;12:105

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