Maternal one-carbon (1-C) metabolism provides methylgroups for fetal development and programing by DNA methylation as one of the underlying epigenetic mechanisms. We aimed to investigate maternal 1-C biomarkers, folic acid supplement use, and MTHFR C677T genotype as determinants of 1-C metabolism in early pregnancy in association with newborn DNA methylation levels of fetal growth and neurodevelopment candidate genes. The participants were 463 mother-child pairs of Dutch national origin from a large populationbased birth cohort in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. In early pregnancy (median 13.0 weeks, 90% range 10.4-17.1), we assessed the maternal folate and homocysteine blood concentrations, folic acid supplement use, and the MTHFR C677T genotype in mothers and newborns. In newborns, DNA methylation was measured in umbilical cord blood white blood cells at 11 regions of the seven genes: NR3C1, DRD4, 5-HTT, IGF2DMR, H19, KCNQ1OT1, and MTHFR. The associations between the 1-C determinants and DNA methylation were examined using linear mixed models. An association was observed between maternal folate deficiency and lower newborn DNA methylation, which attenuated after adjustment for potential confounders. The maternal MTHFR TT genotype was significantly associated with lower DNA methylation. However, maternal homocysteine and folate concentrations, folic acid supplement use, and the MTHFR genotype in the newborn were not associated with newborn DNA methylation. The maternal MTHFR C677T genotype, as a determinant of folate status and 1-C metabolism, is associated with variations in the epigenome of a selection of genes in newborns. Research on the implications of these variations in methylation on gene expression and health is recommended.,
Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

van Mil, N.H, Bouwl-Both, M.I, Stolk, L, Verbiest, M.M.P.J, Hofman, A, Jaddoe, V.W.V, … Steegers-Theunissen, R.P.M. (2014). Determinants of maternal pregnancy one-carbon metabolism and newborn human DNA methylation profiles. Reproduction, 148(6), 581–592. doi:10.1530/REP-14-0260