The placenta provides nutrients to the fetus, and it has protective effects against harmful substances. Unhealthy maternal diets and toxic agents might increase free radical (FR) production. Elevated FR levels are associated with a high risk of oxidative stress, which may cause DNA damage. DNA might be oxidized in the placenta, occasionally affecting its methylation profile due to 8-hidroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine formation.
This study assessed 130 mothers and their children. The maternal's nutritional patterns were determined using the Food Frequency Questionnaire. Information on smoking and alcohol consumption was collected during the medical examination. Data on placental DNA were obtained to determine the MTHFR 677C/T genotype and the proportion of placental DNA methylation (pDNAm).
Consumption of vitamins and folic acid was above 85%. The pDNAm was found to be correlated with gestational age and coffee intake. Mothers with a smoking history had a low pDNAm. Placentas with the TT genotype had a higher but not significant pDNAm. In the placentas with the CC/CT genotype, the pDNAm was positively associated with carbohydrate and biotin intake. However, the TT genotype was negatively associated with folate and vegetable intake.
The pDNAm was positively associated with coffee intake, but not with macro-, and micronutrient intake. However, it was negatively associated with cigarette smoking. The placentas with the CC/CT genotype had a lower pDNAm than those with the TT genotype. In the placentas with the CC/CT or TT genotype, methylation was positively, and negatively associated with micro- or macronutrients, respectively.