Assisted reproductive technologies do not enhance the variability of DNA methylation imprints in human

J Med Genet. 2010 Jun;47(6):371-6. doi: 10.1136/jmg.2009.073189. Epub 2009 Nov 30.


BACKGROUND Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) are believed to destabilise genomic imprints. An increased frequency of Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome in children born after ART has been reported. Other, mostly epidemiological, studies argue against this finding. OBJECTIVE To examine the effect of ART on the stability of DNA methylation imprints, DNA was extracted from maternal peripheral blood (MPB), umbilical cord blood (UCB) and amnion/chorion tissue (ACT) of 185 phenotypically normal children (77 ICSI, 35 IVF, and 73 spontaneous conceptions). Using bisulfite based technologies 10 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) were analysed, including KvDMR1, H19, SNRPN, MEST, GRB10, DLK1/MEG3 IG-DMR, GNAS NESP55, GNAS NESPas, GNAS XL-alpha-s and GNAS Exon1A. RESULTS Methylation indices (MI) do not reveal any significant differences at nine DMRs among the conception groups in neither MPB, UCB nor in ACT. The only slightly variable DMR was that of MEST. Here the mean MI was higher in UCB and MPB of IVF cases (mean MI+/-SD: 0.41+/-0.03 (UCB) and 0.40+/-0.03 (MPB)) compared to the ICSI (0.38+/-0.03, p=0.003 (UCB); 0.37+/-0.04, p=0.0007 (MPB)) or spontaneous cases (0.38+/-0.03, p=0.003 (UCB); 0.38+/-0.04, p=0.02 (MPB)). Weak but suggestive correlations between DMRs were, however, found between MPB, UCB and ACT. CONCLUSION This study supports the notion that children conceived by ART do not show a higher degree of imprint variability and hence do not have an a priori higher risk for imprinting disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amnion / metabolism
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Chorion / metabolism
  • Chromogranins
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / isolation & purification
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / metabolism
  • GRB10 Adaptor Protein / genetics
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gs / genetics
  • Genome, Human / genetics*
  • Genomic Instability / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated / genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Proteins / genetics
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • snRNP Core Proteins / genetics


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Chromogranins
  • DLK1 protein, human
  • GRB10 protein, human
  • H19 long non-coding RNA
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • KCNQ1OT1 long non-coding RNA, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • RNA, Untranslated
  • mesoderm specific transcript protein
  • snRNP Core Proteins
  • GRB10 Adaptor Protein
  • DNA
  • GNAS protein, human
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gs