Normal early pregnancy: A transient state of epigenetic change favoring hypomethylation

Wendy M. White, Brian C. Brost, Zhifu Sun, Carl Rose, Iasmina Craici, Steven J. Wagner, Stephen Turner, Vesna D. Garovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to analyze genome-wide differential methylation patterns in maternal leukocyte DNA in early pregnant and non-pregnant states. This is an age and body mass index matched case-control study comparing the methylation patterns of 27,578 cytosine-guanine (CpG) sites in 14,495 genes in maternal leukocyte DNA in early pregnancy (n = 14), in the same women postpartum (n = 14), and in nulligravid women (n = 14) on a BeadChip platform. Transient widespread hypomethylation was found in early pregnancy as compared with the non-pregnant states. Methylation of nine genes was significantly different in early pregnancy compared with both postpartum and nulligravid states (<10% False Discovery Rate). Early pregnancy may be characterized by widespread hypomethylation compared with non-pregnant states; there is no apparent permanent methylation imprint after a normal term gestation. Nine potential candidate genes were identified as differentially methylated in early pregnancy and may play a role in the maternal adaptation to pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)729-734
Number of pages6
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2012


  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetics
  • Immune
  • Leukocyte
  • Maternal
  • Postpartum
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


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