Prenatal unhealthy diet, insulin-like growth factor 2 gene (IGF2) methylation, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in youth with early-onset conduct problems

Jolien Rijlaarsdam, Charlotte A M Cecil, Esther Walton, Maurissa S C Mesirow, Caroline L Relton, Tom R Gaunt, Wendy McArdle, Edward D Barker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

40 Citations (Scopus)
319 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Conduct problems (CP) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often comorbid and have each been linked to 'unhealthy diet'. Early-life diet also associates with DNA methylation of the insulin-like growth factor 2 gene (IGF2), involved in fetal and neural development. We investigated the degree to which prenatal high-fat and -sugar diet might relate to ADHD symptoms via IGF2 DNA methylation for early-onset persistent (EOP) versus low CP youth.

METHODS: Participants were 164 youth with EOP (n = 83) versus low (n = 81) CP drawn from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. We assessed if the interrelationships between high-fat and -sugar diet (prenatal, postnatal), IGF2 methylation (birth and age 7, collected from blood), and ADHD symptoms (age 7-13) differed for EOP versus low CP youth.

RESULTS: Prenatal 'unhealthy diet' was positively associated with IGF2 methylation at birth for both the EOP and low CP youth. For EOP only: (a) higher IGF2 methylation predicted ADHD symptoms; and (b) prenatal 'unhealthy diet' was associated with higher ADHD symptoms indirectly via higher IGF2 methylation.

CONCLUSIONS: Preventing 'unhealthy diet' in pregnancy might reduce the risk of ADHD symptoms in EOP youth via lower offspring IGF2 methylation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume58
Issue number1
Early online date18 Aug 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

Keywords

  • DNA methylation
  • Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children
  • diet
  • conduct problems
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • IGF2

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