Adverse Maternal Metabolic Intrauterine Environment and Placental Epigenetics: Implications for Fetal Metabolic Programming

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Abstract

Purpose of Review: Herein, we summarize existent epidemiological studies relating adverse maternal metabolic environments of maternal obesity and gestational diabetes and placental DNA methylation. Recent Findings: Multiple studies have evaluated associations between intrauterine exposure to gestational diabetes and/or maternal glucose levels and DNA methylation at candidate metabolic genes as well as in epigenome-wide studies. Some of the genomic regions more consistently associated include lipid-related genes (LPL and PPARGC1A), the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), and imprinted genes. Studies solely focused on maternal obesity influences on the placental epigenome are scarce. Summary: Understanding the placental mechanisms involved in fetal metabolic programming could lead to discovery of placental biomarkers at birth that predict later-life metabolic risk. Moving forward is important to standardize methods utilized in epigenetics research; consistent methodology can help interpret disparate findings. Larger studies with longitudinal follow-up are needed to address future challenges in fetal programming research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-543
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Environmental Health Reports
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018

Keywords

  • Epigenetics
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Maternal obesity
  • Metabolic programming
  • Placenta

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