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J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2011 Aug;24(8):1002-12. doi: 10.3109/14767058.2010.538454. Epub 2011 Jan 10.

Global maternal early pregnancy peripheral blood mRNA and miRNA expression profiles according to plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations.

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Center for Perinatal Studies, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, WA 98104, USA.



We investigated associations of early pregnancy maternal vitamin D concentrations with differential gene expression and post-transcription regulation.


Plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) was measured among participants of a nested case-control study. Participants with low (<25.5 ng/ml) and high (≥31.7 ng/ml) 25[OH]D were identified among controls. Peripheral blood messenger RNA (mRNA) (N = 21) and microRNA (miRNA) (N = 13) expression studies were conducted among participants with low and high 25[OH]D concentrations. Differential expression between low/high groups were evaluated using Student's t-test, fold change, and SAM comparisons. We further investigated functions and functional relationships of differentially expressed mRNAs and targets of differentially expressed miRNAs.


Three hundred and five genes (299 upregulated and 6 downregulated) and 11 miRNAs (10 downregulated and 1 upregulated) were differentially expressed among participants with low 25[OH]D compared with those who had high 25[OH]D. Genes that participate in a wide range of cellular functions, including organ and system development (e.g. angiogenesis), inflammation and metabolic processes (e.g. carbohydrate/lipid metabolism), as well as miRNAs that target these genes were differentially expressed among women with low 25[OH]D compared with those with high 25[OH]D.


Early pregnancy plasma 25[OH]D concentrations are associated with maternal peripheral blood gene expression and post-transcription regulation.

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