Imprinted and X-linked non-coding RNAs as potential regulators of human placental function

Epigenetics. 2014 Jan;9(1):81-9. doi: 10.4161/epi.26197. Epub 2013 Sep 30.


Pregnancy outcome is inextricably linked to placental development, which is strictly controlled temporally and spatially through mechanisms that are only partially understood. However, increasing evidence suggests non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) direct and regulate a considerable number of biological processes and therefore may constitute a previously hidden layer of regulatory information in the placenta. Many ncRNAs, including both microRNAs and long non-coding transcripts, show almost exclusive or predominant expression in the placenta compared with other somatic tissues and display altered expression patterns in placentas from complicated pregnancies. In this review, we explore the results of recent genome-scale and single gene expression studies using human placental tissue, but include studies in the mouse where human data are lacking. Our review focuses on the ncRNAs epigenetically regulated through genomic imprinting or X-chromosome inactivation and includes recent evidence surrounding the H19 lincRNA, the imprinted C19MC cluster microRNAs, and X-linked miRNAs associated with pregnancy complications.

Keywords: epigenetics; microRNA; non-coding RNA; placenta; preeclampsia; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosomes, Human, X / genetics
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Genomic Imprinting*
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Placenta / physiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / genetics
  • Pregnancy Complications / metabolism
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics
  • RNA, Untranslated / metabolism*


  • H19 long non-coding RNA
  • MIRN675 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • RNA, Untranslated