A genome-wide methylation study was conducted among a sample of 114 infants (M age = 13.2 months, SD = 1.08) of low-income urban women with (n = 73) and without (n = 41) major depressive disorder. The Illumina HumanMethylation450 BeadChip array with a GenomeStudio Methylation Module and Illumina Custom model were used to conduct differential methylation analyses. Using the 5.0 × 10 -7 p value, 2,119 loci were found to be significantly different between infants of depressed and nondepressed mothers. Infants of depressed mothers had greater methylation at low methylation sites (0%-29%) compared to infants of nondepressed mothers. At high levels of methylation (70%-100%), the infants of depressed mothers were predominantly hypomethylated. The mean difference in methylation between the infants of depressed and infants of nondepressed mothers was 5.23%. Disease by biomarker analyses were also conducted using GeneGo MetaCore Software. The results indicated significant cancer-related differences in biomarker networks such as prostatic neoplasms, ovarian and breast neoplasms, and colonic neoplasms. The results of a process networks analysis indicated significant differences in process networks associated with neuronal development and central nervous system functioning, as well as cardiac development between infants of depressed and nondepressed mothers. These findings indicate that early in development, infants of mothers with major depressive disorder evince epigenetic differences relative to infants of well mothers that suggest risk for later adverse health outcomes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by grants from the Jacobs Foundation (to D.C.) and the National Institute of Mental Health (R01 MH67792 to D.C. and S.L.T.)
© Cambridge University Press 2016.