The promoter methylomes of monochorionic twin placentas reveal intrauterine growth restriction-specific variations in the methylation patterns

Sci Rep. 2016 Feb 2;6:20181. doi: 10.1038/srep20181.


Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) affects the foetus and has a number of pathological consequences throughout life. Recent work has indicated that variations in DNA methylation might cause placental dysfunction, which may be associated with adverse pregnancy complications. Here, we investigated the promoter methylomes of placental shares from seven monochorionic (MC) twins with selective intrauterine growth restriction (sIUGR) using the healthy twin as an ideal control. Our work demonstrated that the IUGR placental shares harboured a distinct DNA hypomethylation pattern and that the methylation variations preferentially occurred in CpG island shores or non-CpG island promoters. The differentially methylated promoters could significantly separate the IUGR placental shares from the healthy ones. Ultra-performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) further confirmed the genome-wide DNA hypomethylation and the lower level of hydroxymethylation statuses in the IUGR placental shares. The methylation variations of the LRAT and SLC19A1 promoters, which are involved in vitamin A metabolism and folate transportation, respectively, and the EFS promoter were further validated in an additional 12 pairs of MC twins with sIUGR. Although the expressions of LRAT, SLC19A1 and EFS were not affected, we still speculated that DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation might serve a functional role during in utero foetal development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA Methylation / genetics*
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / genetics*
  • Fetus / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genomic Imprinting
  • Humans
  • Placenta / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Twins, Monozygotic / genetics*

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/M9.FIGSHARE.1368311