Cord blood DNA methylation of immune and lipid metabolism genes is associated with maternal triglycerides and child adiposity

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2024 Jan;32(1):187-199. doi: 10.1002/oby.23915. Epub 2023 Oct 23.


Objective: Fetal exposures may impact offspring epigenetic signatures and adiposity. The authors hypothesized that maternal metabolic traits associate with cord blood DNA methylation, which, in turn, associates with child adiposity.

Methods: Fasting serum was obtained in 588 pregnant women (27-34 weeks' gestation), and insulin, glucose, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and free fatty acids were measured. Cord blood DNA methylation and child adiposity were measured at birth, 4-6 months, and 4-6 years. The association of maternal metabolic traits with DNA methylation (429,246 CpGs) for differentially methylated probes (DMPs) and regions (DMRs) was tested. The association of the first principal component of each DMR with child adiposity was tested, and mediation analysis was performed.

Results: Maternal triglycerides were associated with the most DMPs and DMRs of all traits tested (261 and 198, respectively, false discovery rate < 0.05). DMRs were near genes involved in immune function and lipid metabolism. Triglyceride-associated CpGs were associated with child adiposity at 4-6 months (32 CpGs) and 4-6 years (2 CpGs). One, near CD226, was observed at both timepoints, mediating 10% and 22% of the relationship between maternal triglycerides and child adiposity at 4-6 months and 4-6 years, respectively.

Conclusions: DNA methylation may play a role in the association of maternal triglycerides and child adiposity.

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity* / genetics
  • Child
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lipid Metabolism / genetics
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Triglycerides


  • Triglycerides