Epigenetic Regulation of Pregnancy Outcome
Pp. 129-148 (20)
Jeffrey M. Craig, Ji-Hoon Eric Joo, Boris Novakovic and Richard Saffery
Epigenetic modifications regulate the expression of all genes, including those showing dynamic
profile associated with cell differentiation and growth. Numerous lines of evidence have confirmed that
epigenetic profile is sensitive to a variety of environmental and genetic factors, and that epigenetic
mechanisms underpin most environmentally-mediated changes to gene expression. The dynamic process of
epigenetic remodeling associated with early human development in utero is thought to be a particularly
sensitive period for environmental perturbation and it is therefore not surprising that a variety of adverse
pregnancy outcomes are now believed to involve some epigenetic disruption in the developing pregnancy
(embryo, fetus, placenta). This chapter summarizes our current understanding of epigenetic mechanisms and
the emerging evidence for a link between epigenetic change and pregnancy outcome.
Epigenetics, DNA methylation, placenta, fetal programming, imprinting.
Cancer, Disease and Developmental Epigenetics, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital; and Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria 3052, Australia