Epigenetic Patterns in Five-Year-Old Children Exposed to a Low Glycemic Index Dietary Intervention during Pregnancy: Results from the ROLO Kids Study

Nutrients. 2020 Nov 24;12(12):3602. doi: 10.3390/nu12123602.


A range of in utero and early-life factors can influence offspring epigenetics, particularly DNA methylation patterns. This study aimed to investigate the influence of a dietary intervention and factors in pregnancy on offspring epigenetic profile at five years of age. We also explored associations between body composition and methylation profile in a cross-sectional analysis. Sixty-three five-year-olds were selected from the ROLO Kids Study, a Randomized controlled trial Of a LOw glycemic index dietary intervention from the second trimester of pregnancy. DNA methylation was investigated in 780,501 CpG sites in DNA isolated from saliva. Principal component analysis identified no association between maternal age, weight, or body mass index (BMI) during pregnancy and offspring DNA methylation (p > 0.01). There was no association with the dietary intervention during pregnancy, however, gene pathway analysis identified functional clusters involved in insulin secretion and resistance that differed between the intervention and control. There were no associations with child weight or adiposity at five years of age; however, change in weight from six months was associated with variation in methylation. We identified no evidence of long-lasting influences of maternal diet or factors on DNA methylation at age five years. However, changes in child weight were associated with the methylome in childhood.

Keywords: childhood; epigenetics; fetal programming; nutrition; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DNA Methylation / physiology*
  • Diet / methods*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glycemic Index / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*