A1 Journal article – refereed
The impact of probiotic supplementation during pregnancy on DNA methylation of obesity-related genes in mothers and their children

List of Authors: Sanna Vähämiko, Asta Laiho, Riikka Lund, Erika Isolauri, Seppo Salminen, Kirsi Laitinen
Publication year: 2018
Journal: European Journal of Nutrition



supplementation with probiotics during pregnancy has been suggested to
decrease the risk for obesity in women after delivery and to minimize
excessive weight gain in their children. Epigenetic DNA methylation has
been proposed to impact on gene activity, thereby providing a plausible
molecular mechanism for a broad range of biological processes and
diseases. This pilot study aimed to evaluate whether probiotic
supplementation during pregnancy could modify the DNA methylation status
of the promoters of obesity and weight gain-related genes in mothers
and their children.


sample of 15 pregnant women was taken from a prospective, randomized
mother and infant nutrition and probiotic study. Seven women received
the probiotic supplementation and eight served as controls. The women’s
and their children’s DNA methylation status of obesity (623 genes) and
weight gain-related (433) gene promoters were analyzed from blood
samples at the mean of 9.8 months (range 6.1–12.7 months) postpartum.


supplementation led to significantly decreased levels of DNA
methylation in 37 gene promoters and increased levels of DNA methylation
in one gene promoter in women. In their children, 68 gene promoters
were significantly affected consistently with a lower level of DNA
methylation in the probiotic group.


the basis of our pilot study, we suggest that probiotic supplementation
during pregnancy may affect the DNA methylation status of certain
promoters of obesity and weight gain-related genes both in mothers and
their children, thereby providing a potential mechanism for long-lasting
health effects.

Downloadable publication

This is an electronic reprint of the original article.
This reprint may differ from the original in pagination and typographic detail. Please cite the original version.

Last updated on 2019-21-08 at 23:00