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Epigenetics. 2011 Jul;6(7):920-7. doi: 10.4161/epi.6.7.16079.

Infant growth restriction is associated with distinct patterns of DNA methylation in human placentas.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.

Abstract

The placenta acts not only as a conduit of nutrient and waste exchange between mother and developing fetus, but also functions as a regulator of the intrauterine environment. Recent work has identified changes in the expression of candidate genes, often through epigenetic alteration, which alter the placenta's function and impact fetal growth. In this study, we used the Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation27 BeadChip array to examine genome-wide DNA methylation patterns in 206 term human placentas. Semi-supervised recursively partitioned mixture modeling was implemented to identify specific patterns of placental DNA methylation that could differentially classify intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and small for gestational age (SGA) placentas from appropriate for gestational age (AGA) placentas, and these associations were validated in a masked testing series of samples. Our work demonstrates that patterns of DNA methylation in human placenta are reliably and significantly associated with infant growth and serve as a proof of principle that methylation status in the human term placenta can function as a marker for the intrauterine environment, and could potentially play a critical functional role in fetal development.

PMID:
21758004
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3154432
Free PMC Article

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