Longitudinal epigenomic study of gestational diabetes mellitus and cardiac structure and function

Project: Research project

Project Details


Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a common (9.2% of all pregnancies) complication in the U.S. Women with prior GDM have been shown to be at significantly higher risks for developing cardiometabolic disorders and cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and at younger ages than women without prior GDM. Our own data have further shown that GDM can increase risk of CVD independent of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), impaired glucose tolerance, and dyslipidemia. This evidence suggests that GDM may cause CVD via pathways other than currently well-characterized mechanisms of metabolic dysfunction. Addressing this knowledge gap is of critical importance to the AHA 2020 Impact Goals “to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20%....” We propose a novel and close collaboration between the Centers of two AHA Strategically-Focused Research Networks (SFRNs): the Northwestern University SFRN Prevention Center (Promoting Cardiovascular Health from Birth to Age 50), and the Magee-Womens Research Institute Center’s Go Red For Women SFRN (Women’s Cardiovascular Health: Novel Insights from Pregnancy). The proposed research, led by Drs. Lifang Hou (PI, Northwestern Center’s Basic Science project PI of “Epigenetics of cardiovascular health metrics”) and Janet Catov (Co-PI, Magee Center’s Population Science project PI of “The placenta as a window to microvascular disease risk in women”) also involves collaboration with Dr. Erica Gunderson of the NHLBI CARDIA study. The proposed prospective longitudinal study aims to: 1) Discover and replicate GDM-specific DNA methylation (DNAm) biomarkers; 2) Examine prospective associations between GDM DNAm biomarkers and cardiac structural alternation and dysfunction in the CARDIA and Magee SFRN Population Science cohorts; 3) Integrate epigenomic and genomic data to examine genetic influences on epigenomic markers of GDM via methylation Quantitative Trait Loci (mQTL) mapping as well as explore the potential causal role o
Effective start/end date7/1/196/30/22


  • American Heart Association (19SCG34940002)


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