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Research Article Open Access
Background: Preterm delivery and sub-optimal fetal growth are associated with each other and affect both mother and infant. Our aim was to determine (i) whether there are detectable differences in DNA methylation between early and late gestation and (ii) whether changes in DNA methylation from entry are associated with spontaneous preterm delivery with and without reduced fetal growth.
Methods: We conducted a case-control study nested within a large prospective cohort. Gene specific methylation was measured by Methyl-Profiler PCR Array in a Human Breast Cancer Signature Panel of 24 genes from maternal peripheral leukocytes genomic DNA at entry and 3rd trimester (sampled at 16 and 30 weeks of gestation, respectively). Clonal bisulfite DNA sequencing was performed to confirm the changes in selected genes (CYP1B1, GADD45A and CXCL12). Multivariable analysis was used for data analysis.
Results: There was significantly decrease in DNA methylation in 15 of 24 genes during the 3rd trimester in cases of spontaneous preterm delivery (n=23) as compared to the controls (n=19) (p<0.05-p<0.01 for each gene). Similar results were observed by bisulfite sequencing for 3 genes. The change in DNA methylation between late and early gestation was significantly different in cases (overall decrease in methylation was -4.0 ± 1.5%) compared to the controls (overall increase in methylation was 12.6 ± 2.19%, p<0.0001). A graded pattern of DNA methylation was observed in 15 genes. Cases who delivered preterm with reduced fetal growth had the lowest level of methylation, cases delivering preterm without reduced fetal growth were next and term controls were highest in methylation (p for trend <0.05 to p<0.01 for each gene). Cases of preterm delivery also had significantly lower dietary choline intake. Conclusions: These data suggest that epigenetic modification is associated with an increased risk of spontaneous preterm delivery, spontaneous preterm delivery with reduced fetal growth in particular.
Spontaneous preterm delivery, Reduced fetal growth, DNA methylation, Tumor related genes, Free choline, Total choline, Preclampsia in Pregnancy, Pregnancy Care, Pregnancy Constipation, Pregnancy Fitness, Pregnancy Nutrition, Smoking in Pregnancy, Stress in Pregnancy