Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Sexual epigenetic dimorphism in the human placenta: implications for susceptibility during the prenatal period.

Authors: Martin, Elizabeth; Smeester, Lisa; Bommarito, Paige A; Grace, Matthew R; Boggess, Kim; Kuban, Karl; Karagas, Margaret R; Marsit, Carmen J; O'Shea, T Michael; Fry, Rebecca C

Published In Epigenomics, (2017 03)

Abstract: Sex-based differences in response to adverse prenatal environments and infant outcomes have been observed, yet the underlying mechanisms for this are unclear. The placental epigenome may be a driver of these differences.Placental DNA methylation was assessed at more than 480,000 CpG sites from male and female infants enrolled in the extremely low gestational age newborns cohort (ELGAN) and validated in a separate US-based cohort. The impact of gestational age on placental DNA methylation was further examined using the New Hampshire Birth Cohort Study for a total of n = 467 placentas.A total of n = 2745 CpG sites, representing n = 587 genes, were identified as differentially methylated (p < 1 × 10-7). The majority (n = 582 or 99%) of these were conserved among the New Hampshire Birth Cohort. The identified genes encode proteins related to immune function, growth/transcription factor signaling and transport across cell membranes.These data highlight sex-dependent epigenetic patterning in the placenta and provide insight into differences in infant outcomes and responses to the perinatal environment.

PubMed ID: 28234023 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Adolescent; Adult; CpG Islands; DNA Methylation*; Epigenesis, Genetic*; Female; Genome, Human; Humans; Infant, Extremely Premature/blood*; Infant, Newborn; Male; Placenta/metabolism; Pregnancy; Premature Birth/blood; Premature Birth/genetics*; Sex Factors

to Top