Epigenetic similarities between placental and cancer cells

This 2017 New Zealand review compared and contrasted epigenetic evidence from placental and cancer research: “Placental and cancer cells are globally hypomethylated and share an epigenetic phenomenon that is not well understood – they fail to silence repetitive DNA sequences (retrotransposons) that are silenced (methylated) in healthy somatic cells. In the placenta, hypomethylation of retrotransposons … Continue reading Epigenetic similarities between placental and cancer cells

Prenatal programming of human HPA axis development

This 2017 UC Irvine human review subject provided details of how fetal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal components and systems develop, and how they are epigenetically changed by the mother’s environment: “The developmental origins of disease or fetal programming model predicts that intrauterine exposures have life-long consequences for physical and psychological health. Prenatal programming of the fetal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) … Continue reading Prenatal programming of human HPA axis development

The lack of oxygen’s epigenetic effects on a fetus

This 2018 Loma Linda review subject was gestational hypoxia: “Of all the stresses to which the fetus and newborn infant are subjected, perhaps the most important and clinically relevant is that of hypoxia. This review explores the impact of gestational hypoxia on maternal health and fetal development, and epigenetic mechanisms of developmental plasticity with emphasis … Continue reading The lack of oxygen’s epigenetic effects on a fetus

in utero prevention of breast cancer by a broccoli sprouts diet

This 2018 Alabama rodent study investigated the epigenetic effects on developing breast cancer of timing a sulforaphane-based broccoli sprouts diet. Timing of the diet was as follows: Conception through weaning (postnatal day 28), named the Prenatal/maternal BSp (broccoli sprouts) treatment (what the mothers ate starting when they were adults at 12 weeks until their pups … Continue reading in utero prevention of breast cancer by a broccoli sprouts diet

Immune memory of pregnancies

This 2018 Israeli human study subject was natural killer cell epigenetic memory of pregnancies: “Natural killer (NK) cells were first discovered for their ability to kill tumor cells, and later found to also kill pathogen-infected cells. Different tissue-resident subpopulations of human NK cells exist throughout the body, displaying unique phenotypic and functional properties. One of … Continue reading Immune memory of pregnancies

Are there epigenetic causes for sexual orientation and gender identity?

This US 2018 review lead author was a gynecologic oncologist in private practice: “Sexual orientation is biologically conferred in the first trimester of pregnancy. Gender identity is biologically conferred during the middle trimester of pregnancy. Since the genitals differentiate in the first trimester, and the brain becomes imprinted in the latter half of gestation, it … Continue reading Are there epigenetic causes for sexual orientation and gender identity?

Genomic imprinting and growth

This 2018 UK paper reviewed genomic imprinting: “Since their discovery nearly 30 years ago, imprinted genes have been a paradigm for exploring the epigenetic control of gene expression. Moreover, their roles in early life growth and placentation are undisputed. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that imprinted gene function has a wider role in maternal … Continue reading Genomic imprinting and growth

Maternal obesity causes fetal liver damage

This 2018 US baboon study was on fetal effects from maternal obesity before and during pregnancy: “Approximately 64% of women of childbearing age in the USA [are] overweight or obese. The baboon is a well-characterized animal model sharing many physiological, metabolic, and genetic characteristics with humans allowing direct translation of findings to human pregnancy. Our … Continue reading Maternal obesity causes fetal liver damage

Make consequential measurements in epigenetic studies

The subject of this 2017 Spanish review was human placental epigenetic changes: “39 papers assessing human placental epigenetic signatures in association with either (i) psychosocial stress, (ii) maternal psychopathology, (iii) maternal smoking during pregnancy, and (iv) exposure to environmental pollutants, were identified. Their findings revealed placental tissue as a unique source of epigenetic variability that … Continue reading Make consequential measurements in epigenetic studies

Epigenetic stress effects in preterm infants

This 2017 Italian review selected 9 human studies on the epigenetic effects of: “One of the major adverse events in human development. Preterm infants are hospitalized in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where they are exposed to life-saving yet pain-inducing procedures and to protective care.” Highlights of the referenced studies included: “Early exposure to adverse … Continue reading Epigenetic stress effects in preterm infants