Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Combined effects of genotype and childhood adversity shape variability of DNA methylation across age

List of Authors: Czamara Darina, Tissink Elleke, Tuhkanen Johanna, Martins Jade, Awaloff Yvonne, Drake Amanda J., Khulan Batbayar, Palotie Aarno, Winter Sibylle M., Nemeroff Charles B., Craighead W. Edward, Dunlop Boadie W., Mayberg Helen S., Kinkead Becky, Mathew Sanjay J., Iosifescu Dan V., Neylan Thomas C., Heim Christine M., Lahti Jari, Eriksson Johan G., Räikkönen Katri, Ressler Kerry J., Provençal Nadine, Binder Elisabeth B.


Publication year: 2021

Journal: Translational Psychiatry

Journal name in source: TRANSLATIONAL PSYCHIATRY

Journal acronym: TRANSL PSYCHIAT

Volume number: 11

Issue number: 1

Number of pages: 11

ISSN: 2158-3188

eISSN: 2158-3188



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Lasting effects of adversity, such as exposure to childhood adversity (CA) on disease risk, may be embedded via epigenetic mechanisms but findings from human studies investigating the main effects of such exposure on epigenetic measures, including DNA methylation (DNAm), are inconsistent. Studies in perinatal tissues indicate that variability of DNAm at birth is best explained by the joint effects of genotype and prenatal environment. Here, we extend these analyses to postnatal stressors. We investigated the contribution of CA, cis genotype (G), and their additive (G+CA) and interactive (GxCA) effects to DNAm variability in blood or saliva from five independent cohorts with a total sample size of 1074 ranging in age from childhood to late adulthood. Of these, 541 were exposed to CA, which was assessed retrospectively using self-reports or verified through social services and registries. For the majority of sites (over 50%) in the adult cohorts, variability in DNAm was best explained by G+CA or GxCA but almost never by CA alone. Across ages and tissues, 1672 DNAm sites showed consistency of the best model in all five cohorts, with GxCA interactions explaining most variance. The consistent GxCA sites mapped to genes enriched in brain-specific transcripts and Gene Ontology terms related to development and synaptic function. Interaction of CA with genotypes showed the strongest contribution to DNAm variability, with stable effects across cohorts in functionally relevant genes. This underscores the importance of including genotype in studies investigating the impact of environmental factors on epigenetic marks.

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Last updated on 2022-04-10 at 10:44