Reproductive Sciences

, Volume 18, Issue 11, pp 1111–1117 | Cite as

Differential Methylation of Imprinted Genes in Growth-Restricted Placentas

  • Luca LambertiniEmail author
  • Tin-Lap Lee
  • Wai-Yee Chan
  • Men-Jean Lee
  • Andreas Diplas
  • James Wetmur
  • Jia Chen
Original Articles


A complex network of epigenetic factors participates in regulating the monoallelic expression of a small subset of genes (˜1%) in the human genome. This phenomenon goes under the definition of genomic imprinting, a parent-of-origin effect that, when altered during early embryogenesis, may influence fetal development into adulthood. Pertubations in genomic imprinting have been associated with placental and fetal growth restrictions. We analyzed the differential DNA methylation of all known imprinted genes on 10 appropriate-for-gestational-age, clinically normal, placentas and 7 severe intrauterine growth-restricted placentas. Samples were pooled according to the diagnosis and analyzed by methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) on a tiling microarray platform. The distribution of the differentially methylated regions (DMRs) identified in growth-restricted placentas showed a slight tendency toward hypermethylation. Imprinted genes not expressed in placenta showed a unique DMR profile with the fewest hyper- and hypomethylated DMRs. Promoter and CpG island DMRs were sporadic and randomly distributed. The vast majority of DMR identified (˜99%) were mapped in introns, showing no common sequence features. Also, by using the more advanced array data mining softwares, no significant patterns emerged. In contrast, differential methylation showed a highly significant correlation with gene length. Overall these data suggest that differential methylation changes in growth-restricted placentas occur throughout the genomic regions, encompassing genes actively expressed in the placenta. These findings warrant caution in interpreting the significance of genes carrying clustered DMRs because the distribution of DMRs in a gene may be attributed as a function of its length rather than as a specific biological role.


genomic imprinting intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) placenta DNA methylation tiling array 


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Copyright information

© Society for Reproductive Investigation 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luca Lambertini
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Tin-Lap Lee
    • 3
  • Wai-Yee Chan
    • 3
    • 4
  • Men-Jean Lee
    • 2
  • Andreas Diplas
    • 1
  • James Wetmur
    • 5
    • 6
  • Jia Chen
    • 1
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of Preventive MedicineMount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive ScienceMount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Laboratory of Clinical GenomicsEunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentBethesdaUSA
  4. 4.School of Biomedical SciencesThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong Kong SARChina
  5. 5.Department of MicrobiologyMount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.Department of Genetics and Genomic SciencesMount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  7. 7.Department of PediatricsMount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  8. 8.Department of Oncological SciencesMount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA

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