The methylation of the LEPR/LEPROT genotype at the promoter and body regions influence concentrations of leptin in girls and BMI at age 18 years if their mother smoked during pregnancy


To determine whether DNA methylation (DNA-M) of the leptin receptor genotype (LEPR/LEPROT) links gestational smoking and leptin serum levels and BMI later in life, we focused on female offspring, 18 years of age, from the Isle of Wight Birth Cohort (IOWBC). Leptin binds to the leptin receptor encoded by the LEPR/LEPROT genotype. Using general linear models, we tested a two-stage model. First, we investigated whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) acting as methylation quantitative trait loci (methQTLs) depending on gestational smoking were related to differentially methylated cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) sites. In stage 2, we tested whether the selected CpG sites, in interaction with other SNPs (modifiable genetic variants, modGV), are associated with serum leptin and BMI (stage 2). Children from the IOWBC were followed from birth to age 18. Information on gestational smoking was gathered upon delivery. SNPs tagging LEPR and LEPROT genes were genotyped. Data on LEPR/LEPROTDNA-M and leptin were obtained from blood samples drawn at age 18; to determine BMI, height and weight were ascertained. Blood samples were provided by 238 girls. Of the 21 CpG sites, interactions between gestational smoking and SNPs were detected for 16 CpGs. Methylation of seven of the 16 CpGs were, in interaction with modGVs, associated with leptin levels at age 18 years. Two CpGs survived a multiple testing penalty and were also associated with BMI. This two-stage model may explain why maternal smoking has a long-term effect on leptin levels and BMI in girls at age 18 years.

Publication Title

International Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Genetics

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