Imprinted genes, which are expressed in a parent of origin-specific manner, are thought to mediate the genetic priorities of each parent in pregnancy. Recently we reported that some fetal imprinted gene variants are associated with maternal glucose concentrations and blood pressures in pregnancy. We suggest that the conflict between the effects of paternal and maternal transmitted genes starts at conception and may already be evident in measures of maternal metabolism in early pregnancy, before gestational diabetes is manifest. Lipid fractions in maternal non-fasting serum collected around week 15 of pregnancy were profiled using direct infusion mass spectrometry in a subset Discovery Cohort (n = 200) of women from the Cambridge Baby Growth Study using direct infusion mass spectrometry. Associations between 151 haplotype-tag fetal polymorphisms in 16 imprinted genes and lipids were determined using partial least squares discriminant analysis. Variable importance in projection scores were used to identify those lipid species that contribute most to the underlying variation in the lipid profile and the concentrations of these species tested for associations with fetal imprinted gene alleles using linear regression. In an internal Validation Cohort (n = 567 women from the same cohort) the lipid fraction was profiled using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and tested for associations with the same fetal imprinted gene variants as above, followed by meta-analysis of associations from the Discovery and Validation Cohorts. The most significant associations were between a monounsaturated triglyceride (44:1) and both paternally-transmitted fetal H19 rs7950932 (R = 0.14, p = 2.9 × 10- 3, n = 386) and maternally-transmitted fetal FAM99A rs7131362 (R = 0.18, p = 6.2 × 10- 3, n = 351; association with maternal-untransmitted allele R = 0.08, p = 0.07, n = 328). This same triglyceride isoform was also associated with subsequent week 28 fasting glucose concentrations (R = 0.09, p = 9.9 × 10- 3, n = 673) and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (R = 0.09, p = 0.01, n = 664). Fetal imprinted genes may influence maternal circulating clinically relevant triglyceride concentrations early in pregnancy.
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