Lifestyle factors, such as food choices and exposure to chemicals, can alter DNA methylation and lead to changes in gene activity. Two such exposures with pharmacologically active components are coffee and tea consumption. Both coffee and tea have been suggested to play an important role in modulating disease-risk in humans by suppressing tumour progression, decreasing inflammation and influencing estrogen metabolism. These mechanisms may be mediated by changes in DNA methylation. To investigate if DNA methylation in blood is associated with coffee and tea consumption, we performed a genome-wide DNA methylation study for coffee and tea consumption in four European cohorts (N = 3,096). DNA methylation was measured from whole blood at 421,695 CpG sites distributed throughout the genome and analysed in men and women both separately and together in each cohort. Meta-analyses of the results and additional regional-level analyses were performed. After adjusting for multiple testing, the meta-analysis revealed that two individual CpG-sites, mapping to DNAJC16 and TTC17, were differentially methylated in relation to tea consumption in women. No individual sites were associated with men or with the sex-combined analysis for tea or coffee. The regional analysis revealed that 28 regions were differentially methylated in relation to tea consumption in women. These regions contained genes known to interact with estradiol metabolism and cancer. No significant regions were found in the sex-combined and male-only analysis for either tea or coffee consumption.
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