Altered DNA methylation in human placenta after (suspected) preterm labor

Jon Schoorlemmer*,1,2,3 , Sof´ıa Macias1, Mark Strunk4, Ricardo Ramos-Ru´ız5, Pilar Calvo2,6,9, Rafael Benito7, Cristina Paules2,6 & Daniel Oros2,6,8 Epigenomics, in press

Aim: The aim of this study was to determine if alterations in DNA methylation in the human placenta
would support suspected preterm labor as a pathologic insult associated with diminished placental health.
Methods: We evaluated placental DNA methylation at seven loci differentially methylated in placental
pathologies using targeted bisulfite sequencing, in placentas associated with preterm labor (term birth
after suspected preterm labor [n = 15] and preterm birth [n = 15]), and controls (n = 15). Results: DNA
methylation levels at the NCAM1 and PLAGL1 loci in placentas associated with preterm labor did differ
significantly (p < 0.05) from controls. Discussion: Specific alterations in methylation patterns indicative
of an unfavourable placental environment are associated with preterm labor per se and not restricted to
preterm birth.