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DNA Cell Biol. 2011 Feb;30(2):79-84. doi: 10.1089/dna.2010.1084. Epub 2010 Nov 2.

Global DNA methylation patterns in placenta and its association with maternal hypertension in pre-eclampsia.

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Department of Nutritional Medicine, Interactive Research School for Health Affairs, Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Pune, India.


Maternal nutrition is an important determinant of one-carbon metabolism that lies at the heart of intrauterine epigenetic programming. Exchange of nutrients and other vital molecules between the mother and fetus takes place across the placenta and hence may play direct role in fetal programming. Pre-eclampsia (PE) originates in the placenta and altered maternal nutrition may influence epigenetic patterns in the placenta, thereby affecting birth outcome. In the present study, we investigated the global DNA methylation levels in placentas of pre-eclampsia women (i.e., women delivering at term and those delivering preterm) and studied their associations with maternal blood pressure and birth outcome. Increased homocysteine and global DNA methylation levels were seen in the pre-eclampsia group (term and preterm PE) when compared with the normotensive group (p < 0.05). A positive association between global DNA methylation and systolic (p < 0.01) and diastolic (p < 0.05) blood pressure was seen in the term pre-eclampsia group, whereas there was no association with birth outcome. The study for the first time provides evidence for altered global DNA methylation patterns in pre-eclampsia placentas and its association with blood pressure. It is possible that increased homocysteine levels may be related to increased methylation in pre-eclampsia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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