Association between Usual Dietary Intake of Food Groups and DNA Methylation and Effect Modification by Metabotype in the KORA FF4 Cohort

Fabian Hellbach, Sebastian Edgar Baumeister, Rory Wilson, Nina Wawro, Chetana Dahal, Dennis Freuer, Hans Hauner, Annette Peters, Juliane Winkelmann, Lars Schwettmann, Wolfgang Rathmann, Florian Kronenberg, Wolfgang Koenig, Christa Meisinger, Melanie Waldenberger, Jakob Linseisen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Associations between diet and DNA methylation may vary among subjects with different metabolic states, which can be captured by clustering populations in metabolically homogenous subgroups, called metabotypes. Our aim was to examine the relationship between habitual consumption of various food groups and DNA methylation as well as to test for effect modification by metabotype. A cross-sectional analysis of participants (median age 58 years) of the population-based prospective KORA FF4 study, habitual dietary intake was modeled based on repeated 24-h diet recalls and a food frequency questionnaire. DNA methylation was measured using the Infinium MethylationEPIC BeadChip providing data on >850,000 sites in this epigenome-wide association study (EWAS). Three metabotype clusters were identified using four standard clinical parameters and BMI. Regression models were used to associate diet and DNA methylation, and to test for effect modification. Few significant signals were identified in the basic analysis while many significant signals were observed in models including food group-metabotype interaction terms. Most findings refer to interactions of food intake with metabotype 3, which is the metabotype with the most unfavorable metabolic profile. This research highlights the importance of the metabolic characteristics of subjects when identifying associations between diet and white blood cell DNA methylation in EWAS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1064
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • EPIC
  • EWAS
  • diet
  • epigenome-wide association study
  • humans
  • interaction
  • metabotype


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