Table_4_Impact of ex vivo Sample Handling on DNA Methylation Profiles in Human Cord Blood and Neonatal Dried Blood Spots.XLSX

The profiling of DNA methylation modifications in peripheral blood has significant potential to determine risk factors for human disease. Little is known concerning the sensitivity of DNA methylation profiles to ex vivo sample handling. Here, we studied typical conditions prior to sample storage associated with cord blood samples obtained from clinical investigations using reduced representation bisulfite sequencing. We examined both whole blood collected shortly after birth and dried blood spots, a potentially important source of neonatal blood for investigation of the DNA methylome and the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease in human cohorts because they are routinely collected during clinical care. Samples were matched across different time conditions, as they were from the same cord blood samples obtained from the same individuals. Maintaining whole blood ex vivo up to 24 h (4°C) or dried blood spots up to 7 days (room temp.) had little effect on DNA methylation profiles. Minimal differences were detected between cord blood immediately frozen and dried blood spots. Our results indicate that DNA methylation profiles are resilient to ex vivo sample handling conditions prior to storage. These data will help guide future human studies focused toward determination of DNA methylation modifications in whole blood.