DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism of gene regulation that can be modified during intrauterine and postnatal life. Pregnant women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) present elevated androgen and insulin levels, which can affect the DNA methylation pattern of their offspring. Then, we studied the global DNA methylation pattern (GDNAm) in daughters and sons born to PCOS women compared to controls. Daughters (99 born to PCOS and 87 born to control women) and sons (74 born to PCOS and 93 born to control women) were studied at early infancy (23 months), puberty (717 years) and adulthood (1835 years). In all of them, a clinical-anthropometric examination was performed and a blood sample was obtained for DNA isolation from peripheral leukocytes. The absolute percentage (%) of GDNAm was quantified using a colorimetric kit (Epigentek). PCOS and control sons showed a different methylation pattern from early infancy to adulthood. Interestingly, sons born to PCOS mothers presented lower GDNAm compared to controls in early infancy (3.0% vs 7.4%, P=0.043) and at the beginning of sexual maturation (2.9% vs 7.1%, P=0.010). In daughters, there were no differences in the GDNAm pattern from early infancy to adulthood between both groups. Our data indicate that sons seem to be more susceptible than daughters to changes of the GDNAm, mainly in periods of activation of the gonadal axis, such as early infancy and the beginning of puberty.
19 - 22 May 2018
European Society of Endocrinology