Navigation Links
Study finds changes in fetal epigenetics throughout pregnancy

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that epigenetic marks on human placentas change from the first trimester of pregnancy to the third, a discovery that may allow clinicians to prevent complications in pregnancy.

The finding marks a dramatic departure from the prevailing opinion that epigenetic programming is permanently established 12 weeks after fertilization. Published in the April issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the study indicates that clinicians may be able to change the course of a pregnancy through early diagnosis and treatment.

"Our research shows that there are several 'windows of opportunity' during pregnancy to detect risks and also change pregnancy outcomes that may arise later," said the study's senior investigator, Men-Jean Lee, MD, Associate Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, and Preventive Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "We have developed an assay that can allow clinicians to diagnose problems early enough to potentially prevent conditions such as preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction."

Epigenetics generally refers to factors that modify how a gene behaves while not altering the DNA nucleotide sequence of the gene itself. The placenta contains a group of genes, known as "imprinted" genes, which regulate fetal growth. In healthy fetal development, one copy of these genes is normally active and the other copy is silent. Loss of imprinting (LOI) occurs when both sets of genes are reactivated, and is an indicator of potential complications such as preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction.

Using an LOI assay developed by James G. Wetmur, PhD, and Jia Chen, ScD, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the research team assessed LOI at the first trimester in 17 placentas and at full term in 14 different placentas. The surprising results showed that more LOI occurred in the first trimester than at full term.

Dr. Lee and her team concluded that genomic imprinting appears to be an ever-changing process in the placenta, meaning that pregnancy risks can change throughout the course of gestation. Previously, the medical community believed imprints remained static after 12 weeks. This same Mount Sinai research team had also previously discovered that the epigenetic marks in placentas from pregnancies with preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction were different from normal pregnancies at full term.

"Ours is the first study to examine LOI in the first trimester and compare it to that of full-term placentas," Dr. Lee said. "Now that we know the epigenetic make-up in the placenta changes during the course of a pregnancy, we can develop biomarkers to see if those pregnancies destined to develop preeclampsia or fetal growth restriction can be detected early enough in pregnancy to allow prevention of these diseases."

An estimated 10 percent of pregnancies are complicated by fetal growth restriction, which increases the risk of stillbirth, cerebral palsy, feeding intolerance, and failure to thrive. Preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure and swelling during pregnancy, affects between 7 and 10 percent of pregnant women.

"More research is necessary to determine the impact of this discovery on potentially reducing the risk of other serious conditions like autism, cancer, and childhood obesity," said Dr. Lee.


Contact: Mount Sinai Press Office
The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Related medicine news :

1. Casual Sex Doesnt Cause Emotional Damage: Study
2. Study Finds Possible Explanation for the Link Between Infertility and Breast/Ovarian Cancer Risks
3. Screening for Spinal Muscular Atrophy Not Cost-Effective: Study
4. New study finds possible source of beta cell destruction that leads to Type 1 diabetes
5. New Study Demonstrates Novel Use of Metabolic Imaging to Locate Sperm in Infertile Men -- Non-Invasive Imaging Procedure May Replace Invasive Techniques such as Testicula
6. Risk of stroke lower for recent Ontario immigrants: study
7. Definitive study confirms chemo benefit in postmenopausal breast cancer
8. Experimental stem cell treatment arrests acute lung injury in mice, study shows
9. Violence is part of the job say nurses as study shows only 1 in 6 incidents are reported
10. Controversial Autism Study Retracted by Medical Journal
11. Study Reveals Impact Of Health Insurance On Hispanics' Attitudes Towards Healthcare Providers
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... "When I was traveling, I was very ... "Many people catch diseases simply from sitting on such dirty toilet seats. I ... germs." , He developed the patent-pending QUDRATECS to eliminate the need to sit ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating community in the world, revealed that over 50% of ... than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 – or 67% of the population ... global estimates of HSV-1 infection . , "The data shocks us highly!" said Michelle ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... Secura Consultants has prided itself for not only fulfilling the needs of advisers ... solutions at an affordable price and providing top-tier customer service. However, there's always ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Dr. Thomas Dunlap ... Inc. and Dr. Tucker Bierbaum with Emergency Medicine at St., Joseph Health ... both STEMI and Sepsis conditions present in similar ways and require time-critical intervention to ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Inevitably when people think ... customers choose to buy during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday massage chair ... to search the Internet high and low to find the best massage chair deals, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 ... "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies ... Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, Competitive ... offering. --> ) has ... Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in the ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ) has ... Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in the ... Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging ... --> ) has announced the ... and Growth Strategies in the German Drugs ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , Nov. 26, 2015 Research and Markets ... "Advanced Wound Care Market by Type (Dressings, Therapy ... User (In-Patient Facility, Out-Patient Facility), and Geography - Global ... --> --> The ... definition and forecast of the global advanced wound care ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: