Preeclampsia is a multi-systemic syndrome that presents in approximately 5% of pregnancies worldwide and is associated with a range of subsequent postpartum and postnatal outcomes, including fetal growth restriction. As the placenta plays a critical role in the development of preeclampsia, surveying genomic features of the placenta, including expression of imprinted genes, may reveal molecular markers that can further refine subtypes to aid targeted disease management. In this study, we conducted a comprehensive survey of placental imprinted gene expression across early and late onset preeclampsia cases and preterm and term normotensive controls. Placentas were collected at delivery from women recruited at the Magee-Womens Hospital prenatal clinics, and expression levels were profiled across 109 imprinted genes. We observed downregulation of placental Mesoderm-specific transcript (MEST) and Necdin (NDN) gene expression levels (false discovery rate (FDR) < 0.05) among early onset preeclampsia cases compared to preterm controls. No differences in placental imprinted gene expression were observed between late onset preeclampsia cases and term controls. While few studies have linked NDN to pregnancy complications, reductions in MEST expression levels, as observed in our study, are consistently reported in the literature in relation to various pregnancy complications, including fetal growth restriction, suggesting a potential role for placental MEST expression as a biosensor of an adverse in utero environment.
- Imprinted genes