Association of chemerin gene promoter methylation in maternal blood and breast milk during gestational diabetes

Document Type



Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Obstetrics and Gynaecology; Family Medicine


The intrauterine environment and early-life nutrition are regulated by maternal biomarkers in the blood and breast milk. We aimed to explore epigenetic modifications that may contribute to differential chemerin expression in maternal plasma, colostrum, and breast milk and find its association with fetal cord blood and infant weight at 6 weeks postpartum. Thirty-three gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) mothers and 33 normoglycemic mothers (NGT) were recruited. Two maternal blood samples (28th week of gestation and 6 weeks postpartum), cord blood, colostrum, and mature milk were collected. Methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay were conducted. The weight of the babies was measured at birth and 6 weeks postpartum. Serum chemerin levels at the 28th gestational week and 6 weeks postpartum were significantly lower for the NGT group as compared to the GDM group; (P < 0.05). Higher colostrum chemerin concentrations were observed in the GDM group and remained elevated in mature milk as compared to NGT (P < 0.05). Colostrum and breast milk chemerin levels showed an independent association with infant weight at 6 weeks postpartum (r = 0.270; P = 0.034) (r = 0.464; P < 0.001). Forty percent GDM mothers expressed unmethylated chemerin reflecting increased chemerin concentration in the maternal blood. This pattern was also observed in newborn cord blood where 52% of samples showed unmethylated chemerin in contrast to none in babies born to normoglycemic mothers. The results of this study highlight the critical importance of altered chemerin regulation in gestational diabetic mothers and its effect during early life period and suggest a possible role in contributing to childhood obesity.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease