An epigenome-wide association meta-analysis of prenatal maternal stress in neonates

Jolien Rijlaarsdam, Irene Pappa, Esther Walton, Marian J Bakermans-Kranenburg, Viara R Mileva-Seitz, Ralph C A Rippe, Sabine J Roza, Vincent W V Jaddoe, Frank C Verhulst, Janine F Felix, Charlotte A M Cecil, Caroline L Relton, Tom R Gaunt, Wendy McArdle, Jonathan Mill, Edward D Barker, Henning Tiemeier, Marinus H van IJzendoorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (SciVal)


Prenatal maternal stress exposure has been associated with neonatal differential DNA methylation. However, the available evidence in humans is largely based on candidate gene methylation studies, where only a few CpG sites were evaluated. The aim of this study was to examine the association between prenatal exposure to maternal stress and offspring genome-wide cord blood methylation using different methods. First, we conducted a meta-analysis and follow-up pathway analyses. Second, we used novel region discovery methods [i.e., differentially methylated regions (DMRs) analyses]. To this end, we used data from two independent population-based studies, the Generation R Study (n = 912) and the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC, n = 828), to (i) measure genome-wide DNA methylation in cord blood and (ii) extract a prenatal maternal stress composite. The meta-analysis (ntotal = 1,740) revealed no epigenome-wide (meta P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-149
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


  • Birth cohort
  • cord blood
  • DNA methylation
  • epigenome-wide association study (EWAS)
  • prenatal maternal stress


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