Article Review 6

Global Methylation In The Placenta And Umbilical Cord Blood From Pregnancies With Maternal Gestational Diabetes, Preeclampsia, And Obesity.

Metabolic disorders such as global diabetes mellitus (GDM), preeclampsia, and obesity in pregnant women are risk factors for future diseases in the infant such as metabolic challenges and neurobehavioral impairments in childhood. While the biological mechanisms linking the metabolic problems in mothers to future diseases in the child have not yet been elucidated, epigenetic factors such as DNA methylation may play a part. This study investigates the relationships between global methylation in placenta and umbilical cord blood; maternal GDM, preeclampsia, and obesity; and newborn phenotypes such as weight, gestational age at birth, body length, and head circumference at birth. There was no correlation between global methylation in placenta and umbilical cord blood. There were no significant differences in global methylation levels in umbilical cord blood in women with metabolic disorders compared with controls. However, in women with GDM and preeclampsia, the global methylation levels in the placenta were lower than in controls, and in obese women, the methylation levels were higher than in controls. Methylation levels in umbilical cord blood were not associated with any infant phenotypes, but methylation levels in the placenta were associated with head circumference and body length. Specifically, a greater methylation level was associated with smaller head circumference and body length in the infants.

Metabolic disorders such as GDM and obesity have become more frequent as people consume more sugar, saturated fats, and processed foods. This research is, therefore, relevant to today’s world as more and more women will have metabolic disorders before and during their pregnancy. The sample size for this study was small, though it was only intended to be a preliminary study.

This study should be replicated with a larger sample of women and a longer follow up period for evaluation of development in the child. Additionally, gene-specific methylation studies should be performed on candidate genes to determine if there is correlation between methylation in either the placenta and umbilical cord blood and maternal metabolic disorders.

Nomura, Yoko, et al. “Global Methylation In The Placenta And Umbilical Cord Blood From Pregnancies With Maternal Gestational Diabetes, Preeclampsia, And Obesity.” Reproductive Sciences (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) 21.1 (2014): 131-137. MEDLINE. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.

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