One-carbon metabolism provides a direct link among dietary folate/vitamin B12 exposure, the activity of the enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), and epigenetic regulation of the genome via DNA methylation. Previously, it has been shown that the common c.677C > T polymorphism in MTHFR influences global DNA methylation status through a direct interaction with folate status and (indirectly) with total homocysteine (tHcy) levels. To build on that and other more recent observations that have further highlighted associations among MTHFR c.677C > T, tHcy, and aberrations in DNA methylation, we investigated whether the interaction between mildly elevated plasma tHcy and the c.677C > T polymorphism is associated with site-specific changes in DNA methylation in humans. We used data on plasma tHcy levels, c.677C > T polymorphism, and site-specific DNA methylation levels for a total of 915 white women and 335 men from the TwinsUK registry ( n = 610) and the Rotterdam study ( n = 670). We performed methylome-wide association analyses in each cohort to model the interaction between levels of tHcy and c.677C > T genotypes on DNA methylation β values. Our meta-analysis identified 13 probes significantly associated with rs1801133 × tHcy levels [false-discovery rate (FDR) < 0.05]. The most significant associations were with a cluster of probes at the AGTRAP-MTHFR-NPPA/B gene locus on chromosome 1 (FDR = 1.3E-04), with additional probes on chromosomes 2, 3, 4, 7, 12, 16, and 19. Our top 2 hits on chromosome 1 were functionally associated with variability in expression of the TNF receptor superfamily member 8 ( TNFRSF8) gene/locus on that chromosome. This is the first study, to our knowledge, to provide a direct link between perturbations in 1-carbon metabolism, through an interaction of tHcy and the activity of MTHFR enzyme on epigenetic regulation of the genome via DNA methylation.-Nash, A. J., Mandaviya, P. R., Dib, M.-J., Uitterlinden, A. G., van Meurs, J., Heil, S. G., Andrew, T., Ahmadi, K. R. Interaction between plasma homocysteine and the MTHFR c.677C>T polymorphism is associated with site-specific changes in DNA methylation in humans.
- 1-carbon metabolism
- FOLATE INTAKE
- methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase
- methylome-wide association study
- vascular disease