Longitudinal DNA methylation differences precede type 1 diabetes

Sci Rep. 2020 Feb 28;10(1):3721. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-60758-0.


DNA methylation may be involved in development of type 1 diabetes (T1D), but previous epigenome-wide association studies were conducted among cases with clinically diagnosed diabetes. Using multiple pre-disease peripheral blood samples on the Illumina 450 K and EPIC platforms, we investigated longitudinal methylation differences between 87 T1D cases and 87 controls from the prospective Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young (DAISY) cohort. Change in methylation with age differed between cases and controls in 10 regions. Average longitudinal methylation differed between cases and controls at two genomic positions and 28 regions. Some methylation differences were detectable and consistent as early as birth, including before and after the onset of preclinical islet autoimmunity. Results map to transcription factors, other protein coding genes, and non-coding regions of the genome with regulatory potential. The identification of methylation differences that predate islet autoimmunity and clinical diagnosis may suggest a role for epigenetics in T1D pathogenesis; however, functional validation is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / genetics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies