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Cell Biochem Biophys. 2013;67(3):977-81. doi: 10.1007/s12013-013-9592-x.

Elevated plasma levels of hypermethylated RASSF1A gene sequences in pregnant women with intrahepatic cholestasis.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Research Institute of Surgery, Daping Hospital, Third Military Medical University, 10 Changjiangzhilu, Daping, Yuzhong District, Chongqing, 400042, China.


Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) is associated with increased perinatal mortality and morbidity. Circulating cell-free fetal DNA has been a useful parameter for monitoring of pregnancy-associated diseases. The purpose of this study was to determine the concentrations of hypermethylated RAS-association domain family 1, isoform A (RASSF1A) gene sequences in the plasma of pregnant women with intrahepatic cholestasis. This study included 56 women in their third trimester of pregnancy, of whom 26 had ICP (study group) and 30 were healthy (control group). Real time PCR was performed to detect RASSF1A concentrations after methylation-sensitive restriction digestion with HinpII and HhaI to measure cell-free fetal DNA. Beta-actin was detected as an internal control to confirm complete enzyme digestion. The data show a significant increase in the circulating hypermethylated RASSF1A levels regarding the pregnancies complicated with ICP as compared with normal pregnancies. Circulating hypermethylated RASSF1A levels in maternal plasma related to total bile acid. Based on these observations, we suggest that the circulating hypermethylated RASSF1A levels in maternal plasma may be used as a diagnostic marker for ICP.

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