Preventing and Diagnosing Diabetic Complications: Epigenetics, miRNA, DNA Methylation, and Histone Modifications

Applications of miRNA, DNA Methylation, and Histone Modifications on Diagnosis and Therapeutics of Diabetic Embryopathy
  • Daoyin Dong
  • E. Albert Reece
  • Peixin YangEmail author
Reference work entry


In previous chapter of this book, we have elucidated that three epigenetic modalities – microRNA (miRNA), DNA methylation, and histone modifications – are possible pathological pathways causing diabetic embryopathy. This chapter discusses the potential of utilizing epigenetic biomarkers for early diagnosis of embryonic malformation in pregnancy, and the therapeutics for diabetic embryopathy based on modifying epigenetic changes. We show evidence that circulating miRNAs, intermediates of the DNA methylation cycle, and epigenetic profiles of circulating nucleosomes, such as DNA methylation and histone modifications, have become promising biomarker candidates for diagnosis and prognosis of diabetic embryopathy. We also describe studies which have targeted the activity of hyperglycemia-induced miRNAs, using mimics or inhibitors; DNA methylation, using nutritional supplements; and histone modifying enzymes, using chemical inhibitors, to prevent diabetic embryopathy. Although we have the promising progress, the development of effective biomarkers and therapeutics for diabetic embryopathy still face many challenges.


Maternal diabetes Embryopathy miRNA DNA methylation Histone modifications Biomarker Therapeutics 

List of Abbreviations




Congenital heart defect


Diabetes mellitus


DNA methyltransferase


Polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate




Grainyhead like transcription factor 3


Histone 3 lysine 27 trimethylation


Histone 3 lysine 4 bimethylation


Histone 3 lysine 9 trimethylation


Histone 4 lysine 20 trimethylation




Potassium voltage-gated channel subfamily H member 2;


Potassium voltage-gated channel subfamily Q member 1


Long interspersed nuclear element-1


Myosin heavy chain 6


Neural tube defect


Paired box 3






Trichostatin A


Tubby like protein 3


Valproic acid


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© This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive SciencesUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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