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Maternal Folate and DNA Methylation in Offspring

  • Emma L. BeckettEmail author
  • Mark Lucock
  • Martin Veysey
  • Bonnie R. Joubert
Reference work entry

Abstract

Folate plays a critical role in DNA methylation as it is a key source of methyl donors via the one-carbon metabolism cycle. Folate supplementation is recommended during the periconceptional period for the prevention of neural tube defects in offspring. However, maternal folate levels during pregnancy may also influence the risk of many other conditions in offspring, but the underlying mechanisms involved are unclear. As such, it is important to investigate the possible association between maternal folate status and disease risk that act via modulation of the methylome. Improving methods and technologies available for profiling DNA methylation has allowed for rapidly expanding investigations in this field; however, limitations in study design remain. On the available evidence, global DNA methylation does not appear to be associated with maternal folate status in cord blood samples, but this response may be tissue specific as correlations have been found in fetal brains and adult murine intestines. Several studies have shown differential locus-specific methylation in response to maternal folate status. However, results may vary depending on the assay methods employed, including different assessments of the methylome, different measures of folate status, and cohort composition. Although maternal folate status is linked to disease risk, additional research is required to link this modulation of the methylome to altered health and disease outcomes.

Keywords

Folate/folic acid Maternal diet Methylation Methylome Methyl One-carbon metabolism Offspring Newborn Epigenome 

List of Abbreviations

5CaC

5-Carboxylcytosine

1CM

One-carbon metabolism

5fmC

5-Formylcytosine

5hmC

5-Hydroxymethylcytosine

5mC

5-Methylcystosine

AID

Activation-induced deaminase

DHF

Dihydrofolate

DHFR

Dihydrofolate reductase

DMR

Differentially methylated region

DNMT

DNA methyltransferase

DOHaD

Developmental origins of health and disease

IAP

Intracisternal A particle

MS-PCR

Methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction

MS-qPCR

Methylation-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction

MTHFR

Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase

MTR

Methionine synthase

MTRR

Methionine synthase reductase

NTDs

Neural tube defects

SAH

S-Adenosylhomocysteine

SAM

S-Adenosylmethionine

SHMT

Serine hydroxymethyltransferase

Tet

Ten-eleven translocation

THF

Tetrahydrofolate

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emma L. Beckett
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mark Lucock
    • 2
  • Martin Veysey
    • 3
  • Bonnie R. Joubert
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Medicine and Public HealthThe University of NewcastleOurimbahAustralia
  2. 2.School of Environmental and Life SciencesThe University of NewcastleOurimbahAustralia
  3. 3.School of Medicine and Public HealthThe University of Newcastle, Gosford HospitalGosfordAustralia
  4. 4.Population Health BranchNational Institute of Environmental and Health SciencesDurhamUSA

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