ANRIL Promoter DNA Methylation: A Perinatal Marker for Later Adiposity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



  • Karen Lillycrop
  • Robert Murray
  • Clara Cheong
  • Ai Ling Teh
  • Rebecca Clarke-Harris
  • Sheila Barton
  • And 28 others
  • Paula Costello
  • Emma Garratt
  • Eloise Cook
  • Philip Titcombe
  • Bhuvaneshwari Shunmuganathan
  • Samantha J Liew
  • Yong-Cai Chua
  • Xinyi Lin
  • Yonghui Wu
  • Graham C Burdge
  • Cyrus Cooper
  • Hazel M Inskip
  • Neerja Karnani
  • James C. Hopkins
  • Caroline E Childs
  • Carolina Paras Chavez
  • Philip C Calder
  • Fabian Yap
  • Yung Seng Lee
  • Yap Seng Chong
  • Phillip Melton
  • Lawrence Beilin
  • Rae-Chi Huang
  • Peter D Gluckman
  • Nick Harvey
  • Mark A Hanson
  • Joanna D Holbrook
  • Keith M. Godfrey

Research units


Experimental studies show a substantial contribution of early life environment to obesity risk through epigenetic processes. We examined inter-individual DNA methylation differences in human birth tissues associated with child's adiposity. We identified a novel association between the level of CpG methylation at birth within the promoter of the long non-coding RNA ANRIL (encoded at CDKN2A) and childhood adiposity at age 6-years. An association between ANRIL methylation and adiposity was also observed in three additional populations; in birth tissues from ethnically diverse neonates, in peripheral blood from adolescents, and in adipose tissue from adults. Additionally, CpG methylation was associated with ANRIL expression in vivo, and CpG mutagenesis in vitro inhibited ANRIL promoter activity. Furthermore, CpG methylation enhanced binding to an Estrogen Response Element within the ANRIL promoter. Our findings demonstrate that perinatal methylation at loci relevant to gene function may be a robust marker of later adiposity, providing substantial support for epigenetic processes in mediating long-term consequences of early life environment on human health.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Mar 2017

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ID: 16256079