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Maternal Glycemic Status Linked to Epigenetic Changes

Changes in DNA methylation observed in the adiponectin gene

THURSDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- Maternal glycemic status and adiponectin levels are linked to epigenetic changes in the adiponectin gene (ADIPOQ), according to a study published online March 6 in Diabetes.

Noting that adiponectin is the most abundant circulating hormone secreted by adipocytes, Luigi Bouchard, Ph.D., from the Université de Sherbrooke in Canada, and colleagues analyzed the association between maternal glycemic status and methylation of ADIPOQ in placenta tissue, maternal circulating blood cells, and cord blood cells in 98 women with a singleton pregnancy recruited during their first trimester.

The researchers found a significant association between lower DNA methylation levels on the fetal side of the placenta and higher maternal glucose levels during the second trimester, and a significant association between lower DNA methylation levels on the maternal side of the placenta and higher insulin resistance index during the second and third trimesters. In addition, there was also a significant association between lower DNA methylation levels and higher maternal circulating adiponectin levels throughout pregnancy.

"In conclusion, the ADIPOQ DNA methylation profile was associated with maternal glucose status and with maternal circulating adiponectin concentration," Bouchard and colleagues write. "Because adiponectin is suspected to have insulin-sensitizing proprieties, these epigenetic adaptations have the potential to induce sustained glucose metabolism changes in the mother and offspring later in life."

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