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Epigenetic Consequences of Low Birth-Weight and Preterm Birth in Adult Twins

  • Qihua Tan
Reference work entry

Abstract

Adverse birth outcomes including low birth-weight and preterm birth are associated with long-term morbidity and health consequences at adult ages. Molecular mechanisms including epigenetic modification may have been involved in the adaptation to the stressful condition in peridelivery period which could be detrimental to health later in life. Current epigenetic studies using genome-wide DNA methylation profiling have discovered molecular evidence confirming that, as important early life events, both low birth-weight and premature birth can result in long-lasting epigenetic consequences that impact health at adult ages. Results from our epigenome-wide association studies indicate that the two moderately correlated traits of adverse pregnancy outcome could be linked to increased susceptibility to different health problems with low birth-weight more relevant to metabolic disorders, while preterm birth mainly liked to neurodevelopmental disorders. High-resolution epigenetic profiling on multiple regulatory mechanisms should provide more novel molecular markers for intervention and prevention of potential health risks in adults of low birth-weight and premature birth.

Keywords

Epigenetics Environment Health Birth-weight Preterm birth DNA methylation Twins Epigenome-wide association Early life events Adults 

List of Abbreviations

PTB

Preterm birth

MZ

Monozygotic twins

EWAS

Epigenome-wide association study

FDR

False discovery rate

DMR

Differentially methylated region

FWER

Family-wise error rate

GREAT

Genomic Regions Enrichment of Annotations Tool

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the DFF Research Project One from the Danish Council for Independent Research, Medical Sciences (DFF-FSS), project number: DFF – 6110-00114.

Conflict of Interest

No conflict of interest declared

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Public Health, Unit of Human Genetics, Department of Clinical Research, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark

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