Journal article

Inference about causation between body mass index and DNA methylation in blood from a twin family study

Shuai Li, Ee Ming Wong, Minh Bui, Tuong L Nguyen, Ji-Hoon Eric Joo, Jennifer Stone, Gillian S Dite, Pierre-Antoine Dugue, Roger L Milne, Graham G Giles, Richard Saffery, Melissa C Southey, John L Hopper



BACKGROUND: Several studies have reported DNA methylation in blood to be associated with body mass index (BMI), but few have investigated causal aspects of the association. We used a twin family design to assess this association at two life points and applied a novel analytical approach to appraise the evidence for causality. METHODS: The methylation profile of DNA from peripheral blood was measured for 479 Australian women from 130 twin families. Linear regression was used to estimate the associations of DNA methylation at ~410,000 cytosine-guanine dinucleotides (CpGs), and of the average DNA methylation at ~20,000 genes, with current BMI, BMI at age 18-21 years, and the change between the ..

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Awarded by Centre of Research Excellence Grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

Awarded by NHMRC

Awarded by National Breast Cancer Foundation

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank all women participating in this study. The data analysis was facilitated by Spartan, the High Performance Computer and Cloud hybrid system of the University of Melbourne. This research was facilitated through access to Twins Research Australia, a national resource supported by a Centre of Research Excellence Grant (ID: 1079102), from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). The AMDTSS was supported by NHMRC (grant numbers 1050561 and 1079102), Cancer Australia and National Breast Cancer Foundation (grant number 509307). SL is supported by the Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship from the University of Melbourne. TLN is supported by a NHMRC Post-Graduate Scholarship and the Richard Lovell Travelling Scholarship from the University of Melbourne. MCS is a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow. JLH is a NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow.