Analysis of Blood DNA Methylation in Early-Life Seizures

Academic Article


  • Epigenome-Wide Association Study of Seizures in Childhood and Adolescence Caramaschi D, Hatcher C, Mulder RH, et al. Clin Epigenetics. 2020;12(1):8. doi:10.1186/s13148-019-0793-z The occurrence of seizures in childhood is often associated with neurodevelopmental impairments and school underachievement. Common genetic variants associated with epilepsy have been identified, and epigenetic mechanisms have also been suggested to play a role. In this study, we analyzed the association of genome-wide blood DNA methylation with the occurrence of seizures in ∼800 children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, United Kingdom, at birth (cord blood), during childhood, and adolescence (peripheral blood). We also analyzed the association between the lifetime occurrence of any seizures before age 13 with blood DNA methylation levels. We sought replication of the findings in the Generation R Study and explored causality using Mendelian randomization, that is, using genetic variants as proxies. The results showed 5 CpG sites which were associated cross-sectionally with seizures either in childhood or adolescence (1%-5% absolute methylation difference at pFDR < 0.05), although the evidence of replication in an independent study was weak. One of these sites was located in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor gene, which is highly expressed in the brain, and showed high correspondence with brain methylation levels. The Mendelian randomization analyses suggested that seizures might be causal for changes in methylation rather than vice versa. In conclusion, we show a suggestive link between seizures and blood DNA methylation while at the same time exploring the limitations of conducting such study.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Epilepsy Currents  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bahabry R; Lubin FD
  • Start Page

  • 393
  • End Page

  • 395
  • Volume

  • 20
  • Issue

  • 6