Comparison of smoking-related DNA methylation between newborns from prenatal exposure and adults from personal smoking

Aim: Cigarette smoking influences DNA methylation genome wide, in newborns from pregnancy exposure and in adults from personal smoking. Whether a unique methylation signature exists for in utero exposure in newborns is unknown. Materials & methods: We separately meta-analyzed newborn blood DNA methylation (assessed using Illumina450k Beadchip), in relation to sustained maternal smoking during pregnancy (9 cohorts, 5648 newborns, 897 exposed) and adult blood methylation and personal smoking (16 cohorts, 15907 participants, 2433 current smokers). Results & conclusion: Comparing meta-analyses, we identified numerous signatures specific to newborns along with many shared between newborns and adults. Unique smoking-associated genes in newborns were enriched in xenobiotic metabolism pathways. Our findings may provide insights into specific health impacts of prenatal exposure on offspring.