Prenatal maternal diet affects asthma risk in offspring

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

41 Scopus citations


Recently, epigenetic-mediated mechanisms - which involve heritable changes in gene expression in the absence of alterations in DNA sequences - have been proposed as contributing to asthma. In this issue of the JCI, Hollingsworth and colleagues report on the effect of prenatal maternal dietary intake of methyl donors on the risk of allergic airway disease in offspring in mice and show that these effects involve epigenetic regulation (see the related article beginning on page 3462). Supplementation of the maternal diet with methyl donors was associated with greater airway allergic inflammation and IgE production in F1 and, to some extent, F2 progeny. Site-specific differences in DNA methylation and reduced transcriptional activity were detected. If these findings are confirmed, a new paradigm for asthma pathogenesis may be emerging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3265-3268
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


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