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Epigenetics and gestational diabetes: a review of epigenetic epidemiology studies and their use to explore epigenetic mediation and improve prediction – published online 17/10/2019

Fig from Elliot paper

Hannah R. Elliott, Gemma C. Sharp, Caroline L. Relton, Deborah A. Lawlor

Gestational diabetes (GDM) increases the risk of adverse perinatal outcomes and is associated with future offspring risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Epigenetic mechanisms have been hypothesised to mediate an effect of GDM on offspring adiposity and type 2 diabetes and therefore could provide a modifiable mechanism to reduce type 2 diabetes in future generations. Epigenetic mechanisms have also been proposed as useful clinical biomarkers for predicting future adverse outcomes, irrespective of their causal role in disease. In this issue, Elliott, Sharp et al (https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-019-05011-8) summarise recent advances in the epigenetic epidemiology of GDM. They identify a nascent research area that is likely to benefit from triangulation of different methods for exploring causal effects of epigenetic mechanisms on disease. They also identify the need to determine the value of epigenetic markers measured in samples collected in early pregnancy as accurate predictors of GDM and associated adverse outcomes. The figures from this review are available as a downloadable slideset.

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