Association of childhood BMI trajectory with post-adolescent and adult lung function is mediated by pre-adolescent DNA methylation


Background: Body mass index (BMI) has been shown to be associated with lung function. Recent findings showed that DNA methylation (DNAm) variation is likely to be a consequence of changes in BMI. However, whether DNAm mediates the association of BMI with lung function is unknown. We examined the mediating role of DNAm on the association of pre-adolescent BMI trajectories with post-adolescent and adulthood lung function (forced expiratory volume (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), and FEV1/FVC). Methods: Analyses were undertaken in the Isle of Wight birth cohort (IOWBC). Group-based trajectory modelling was applied to infer latent BMI trajectories from age 1 to 10 years. An R package, ttscreening, was applied to identify CpGs at 10 years potentially associated with BMI trajectories for each sex. Linear regressions were implemented to further screen CpGs for their association with lung function at 18 years. Path analysis, stratified by sex, was applied to each screened CpG to assess its role of mediation. Internal validation was applied to further examine the mediation consistency of the detected CpGs based on lung function at 26 years. Mendelian randomization (MR-base) was used to test possible causal effects of the identified CpGs. Results: Two BMI trajectories (high vs. low) were identified. Of the 442,475 CpG sites, 18 CpGs in males and 33 in females passed screening. Eight CpGs in males and 16 CpGs in females (none overlapping) were identified as mediators. For subjects with high BMI trajectory, high DNAm at all CpGs in males were associated with decreased lung function, while 8 CpGs in females were associated with increased lung function at 18 years. At 26 years, 6 CpGs in males and 14 CpGs in females showed the same direction of indirect effects as those at 18 years. DNAm at CpGs cg19088553 (GRIK2) and cg00612625 (HPSE2) showed a potential causal effect on FEV1. Conclusions: The effects of BMI trajectory in early childhood on post-adolescence lung function were likely to be mediated by pre-adolescence DNAm in both males and females, but such mediation effects were likely to diminish over time.

Publication Title

Respiratory Research