Association of maternal prenatal smoking GFI1-locus and cardiometabolic phenotypes in 18,212 adults

Priyanka Parmar, Estelle Lowry, Giovanni Cugliari, Matthew Suderman, Rory Wilson, Ville Karhunen, Toby Andrew, Petri Wiklund, Matthias Wielscher, Simonetta Guarrera, Alexander Teumer, Benjamin Lehne, Lili Milani, Niek de Klein, Pashupati P. Mishra, Phillip E. Melton, Pooja R. Mandaviya, Silva Kasela, Jana Nano, Weihua ZhangYan Zhang, Andre G. Uitterlinden, Annette Peters, Ben Schoettker, Christian Gieger, Denise Anderson, Dorret Boomsma, Hans J. Grabe, Salvatore Panico, Jan H. Veldink, Joyce B. J. van Meurs, Leonard van den Berg, Lawrence J. Beilin, Lude Franke, Marie Loh, Marleen M. J. van Greevenbroek, Matthias Nauck, Mika Kahonen, Mikko A. Hurme, Olli T. Raitakari, Oscar H. Franco, P. Eline Slagboom, Pim van der Harst, Sonja Kunze, Stephan B. Felix, Tao Zhang, Wei Chen, Trevor A. Mori, Amelie Bonnefond, Bastiaan T. Heijmans, BIOS Consortium, GLOBAL Meth QTL Consortium, Marjo-Riitta Jarvelin*, Sylvain Sebert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: DNA methylation at the GFI1-locus has been repeatedly associated with exposure to smoking from the foetal period onwards. We explored whether DNA methylation may be a mechanism that links exposure to maternal prenatal smoking with offspring's adult cardio-metabolic health.

Methods: We meta-analysed the association between DNA methylation at GFI1-locus with maternal prenatal smoking, adult own smoking, and cardio-metabolic phenotypes in 22 population-based studies from Europe, Australia, and USA (n= 18,212). DNA methylation at the GFI1-locus was measured in whole-blood. Multivariable regression models were fitted to examine its association with exposure to prenatal and own adult smoking. DNA methylation levels were analysed in relation to body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), fasting glucose (FG), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglycerides (TG), diastolic, and systolic blood pressure (BP).

Findings: Lower DNA methylation at three out of eight GFI1-CpGs was associated with exposure to maternal prenatal smoking, whereas, all eight CpGs were associated with adult own smoking. Lower DNA methylation at cg14179389, the strongest maternal prenatal smoking locus, was associated with increased WC and BP when adjusted for sex, age, and adult smoking with Bonferroni-corrected P <0.012. In contrast, lower DNA methylation at cg09935388, the strongest adult own smoking locus, was associated with decreased BMI, WC, and BP (adjusted 1 x 10(-7) <P <0.01). Similarly, lower DNA methylation at cg12876356, cg18316974, cg09662411, and cg18146737 was associated with decreased BMI and WC (5 x 10(-8) <P <0.001). Lower DNA methylation at all the CpGs was consistently associated with higher TG levels.

Interpretation: Epigenetic changes at the GFI1 were linked to smoking exposure in-utero/in-adulthood and robustly associated with cardio-metabolic risk factors. Fund: European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 633595 DynaHEALTH. (c) 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-216
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


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