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  • 1.
    Bygren, Lars Olov
    et al.
    Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet; Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Umeå.
    Tinghög, Petter
    Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet.
    Carstensen, John
    Department of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Linköping.
    Edvinsson, Sören
    The Demographic Database, University of Umeå.
    Kaati, Gunnar
    Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet.
    Pembrey, Marcus E
    Institute of Child Health, University College London, UK.
    Sjöström, Michael
    Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet.
    Change in paternal grandmothers' early food supply influenced cardiovascular mortality of the female grandchildren.2014In: BMC Genetics, ISSN 1471-2156, E-ISSN 1471-2156, Vol. 15, article id 12Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    BACKGROUND: This study investigated whether large fluctuations in food availability during grandparents' early development influenced grandchildren's cardiovascular mortality. We reported earlier that changes in availability of food - from good to poor or from poor to good - during intrauterine development was followed by a double risk of sudden death as an adult, and that mortality rate can be associated with ancestors' childhood availability of food. We have now studied transgenerational responses (TGR) to sharp differences of harvest between two consecutive years' for ancestors of 317 people in Överkalix, Sweden.

    RESULTS: The confidence intervals were very wide but we found a striking TGR. There was no response in cardiovascular mortality in the grandchild from sharp changes of early exposure, experienced by three of the four grandparents (maternal grandparents and paternal grandfathers). If, however, the paternal grandmother up to puberty lived through a sharp change in food supply from one year to next, her sons' daughters had an excess risk for cardiovascular mortality (HR 2.69, 95% confidence interval 1.05-6.92). Selection or learning and imitation are unlikely explanations. X-linked epigenetic inheritance via spermatozoa seemed to be plausible, with the transmission, limited to being through the father, possibly explained by the sex differences in meiosis.

    CONCLUSION: The shock of change in food availability seems to give specific transgenerational responses.

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