The Impact of Nutritional Interventions in Pregnant Women on DNA Methylation Patterns of the Offspring: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Epidemiological studies have consistently demonstrated that environmental exposures in early life are associated with later-life health status and disease susceptibility. Epigenetic modifications, such as DNA methylation, have been suggested as potential mechanisms linking the intrauterine environment with offspring health status. The present systematic review compiles peer-reviewed randomized controlled trials assessing the impact of maternal nutritional interventions on DNA methylation patterns of the offspring. The results of the included trials are consistent with micronutrient supplementation not significantly affecting offspring tissue DNA methylation patterns, yet subgrouping by sex, BMI, and smoking status increased the significance of nutritional supplementation on DNA methylation. Maternal BMI and smoking status as well as offspring sex were factors influencing offspring DNA methylation responsiveness to nutritional interventions during pregnancy. Future research should aim at assessing the impact of nutritional interventions on DNA methylation patterns of neonates comparing single versus multi-micronutrient supplementation, within populations having high versus low baseline nutritional statuses.

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