Worldwide, it is currently estimated that 425 million adults have type 2 diabetes (T2D) and rates of T2D are also increasing among adolescents. Exposure to diabetes during pregnancy is strongly associated with early onset obesity, dysglycemia and T2D in the offspring. One current theory for the trend of rising T2D among children is that more women in their childbearing years are overweight and at risk of diabetes during pregnancy. The mechanisms involved are not understood, but the development of T2D in the offspring years after the initial exposure to diabetes in utero suggests the possible involvement of epigenetics, a form of cellular memory. One specific epigenetic mark, DNA methylation, is established in utero. Thus, DNA methylation could link in utero exposure to diabetes during pregnancy to gene expression patterns that affect the risk of T2D development in the offspring.
Agarwal P, Dart AB, Wicklow B, et al
Canadian Journal of Diabetes
Research Project: iCARE
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