The Role of Epigenetics in Placental Development and the Etiology of Preeclampsia

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Jun; 20(11): 2837. Published online 2019 Jun 11. doi: 10.3390/ijms20112837.


In this review, we comprehensively present the function of epigenetic regulations in normal placental development as well as in a prominent disease of placental origin, preeclampsia (PE). We describe current progress concerning the impact of DNA methylation, non-coding RNA (with a special emphasis on long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) and microRNA (miRNA)) and more marginally histone post-translational modifications, in the processes leading to normal and abnormal placental function. We also explore the potential use of epigenetic marks circulating in the maternal blood flow as putative biomarkers able to prognosticate the onset of PE, as well as classifying it according to its severity. The correlation between epigenetic marks and impacts on gene expression is systematically evaluated for the different epigenetic marks analyzed.