Polymethylation scores for prenatal maternal smoke exposure persist until age 15 and are detected in saliva in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing cohort

Freida A. Blostein, Jonah Fisher, John Dou, Lisa Schneper, Erin B. Ware, Daniel A. Notterman, Colter Mitchell, Kelly M. Bakulski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Prenatal maternal smoking is associated with low birthweight, neurological disorders, and asthma in exposed children. DNA methylation signatures can function as biomarkers of prenatal smoke exposure. However, the robustness of DNA methylation signatures across child ages, genetic ancestry groups, or tissues is not clear. Using coefficients from a meta-analysis of prenatal smoke exposure and DNA methylation in newborn cord blood, we created polymethylation scores of saliva DNA methylation from children at ages 9 and 15 in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study. In the full sample at age 9 (n = 753), prenatal smoke exposure was associated with a 0.51 (95%CI: 0.35, 0.66) standard deviation higher polymethylation score. The direction and magnitude of the association was consistent in European and African genetic ancestry samples. In the full sample at age 15 (n = 747), prenatal smoke exposure was associated with a 0.48 (95%CI: 0.32, 0.63) standard deviation higher polymethylation score, and the association was attenuated among the European and Admixed–Latin genetic ancestry samples. The polymethylation score classified prenatal smoke exposure accurately (AUC age 9 = 0.77, age 15 = 0.76). Including the polymethylation score increased the AUC of base model covariates by 5 (95% CI: (2.1, 7.2)) percentage points, while including a single candidate site in the AHRR gene did not (P-value = 0.19). Polymethylation scores for prenatal smoking were portable across genetic ancestries and more accurate than an individual DNA methylation site. Polymethylation scores from saliva samples could serve as robust and practical biomarkers of prenatal smoke exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEpigenetics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research

Keywords

  • cohort
  • DNA methylation
  • prenatal maternal smoking
  • salivary biomarker

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