Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study finds changes in fetal epigenetics throughout pregnancy

15.04.2010
May help in diagnosis and prevention of complications

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.

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Mount Sinai Hospital is one of the nation's oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. Founded in 1852, Mount Sinai today is a 1,171-bed tertiary-care teaching facility that is internationally acclaimed for excellence in clinical care. Last year, nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients, and there were approximately 530,000 outpatient visits to the Medical Center.

Mount Sinai School of Medicine is internationally recognized as a leader in groundbreaking clinical and basic science research, as well as having an innovative approach to medical education. With a faculty of more than 3,400 in 38 clinical and basic science departments and centers, Mount Sinai ranks among the top 20 medical schools in receipt of National Institute of Health (NIH) grants. For more information, please visit www.mountsinai.org.

Mount Sinai Press Office | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mountsinai.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supercomputing helps researchers understand Earth's interior

23.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

Study identifies RNA molecule that shields breast cancer stem cells from immune system

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>