Session: 10

PS10-04 | Epigenome wide- association study of maternal stress in newborn saliva: FELICITy Study.

Ritika Sharma

Research Unit of Molecular Epidemiology, Inst. of Epidemiology, Helmholtz Zentrum Munich.

Maternal stress during pregnancy can program the infant’s lifelong trajectory and physiological stress response systems. We hypothesize that the stress-induced alterations can be gauged by the infant epigenetic biomarkers, which can be employed for early detection and follow up of affected children. Pregnant women were screened for stress exposure using Cohen Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) and were classified into stressed (SG, PSS-10 ≥ 19, n= 79) and control group (CG, PSS-10 <19, n=85) matched 1:1 for parity, maternal and gestational age. Prenatal Distress Questionnaire (PDQ) was also administered to assess specific pregnancy worries. Upon delivery, maternal hair strands were collected for cortisol measurements and newborn’s saliva samples were collected. DNA was extracted from saliva samples (n=114) and DNA methylation was measured using EPIC Bead-Chip array (850k CpG sites). To identify associations between PDQ/Cortisol and methylation, linear regression models adjusting for confounders were run in R. We found epigenome-wide significant associations for five CpG sites in association with stress phenotypes (PDQ and cortisol) at FDR < 5%. Annotated genes were found to be enriched for development and growth in hippocampus signaling pathway, organelle biosynthesis, and metabolism of proteins, cell proliferation and bone development. We report novel associations between DNA methylation patterns in newborn saliva and maternal stress that might be harnessed as early biomarkers