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Genes 2016, 7(4), 15; doi:10.3390/genes7040015

Epigenetic Biomarkers of Preterm Birth and Its Risk Factors

1
Genetics and Molecular Biology Program, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
2
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jeffrey Craig and Thomas Mikeska
Received: 12 February 2016 / Revised: 28 March 2016 / Accepted: 8 April 2016 / Published: 13 April 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetic Biomarkers)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [725 KB, uploaded 13 April 2016]   |  

Abstract

A biomarker is a biological measure predictive of a normal or pathogenic process or response. Biomarkers are often useful for making clinical decisions and determining treatment course. One area where such biomarkers would be particularly useful is in identifying women at risk for preterm delivery and related pregnancy complications. Neonates born preterm have significant morbidity and mortality, both in the perinatal period and throughout the life course, and identifying women at risk of delivering preterm may allow for targeted interventions to prevent or delay preterm birth (PTB). In addition to identifying those at increased risk for preterm birth, biomarkers may be able to distinguish neonates at particular risk for future complications due to modifiable environmental factors, such as maternal smoking or alcohol use during pregnancy. Currently, there are no such biomarkers available, though candidate gene and epigenome-wide association studies have identified DNA methylation differences associated with PTB, its risk factors and its long-term outcomes. Further biomarker development is crucial to reducing the health burden associated with adverse intrauterine conditions and preterm birth, and the results of recent DNA methylation studies may advance that goal. View Full-Text
Keywords: epigenetics; biomarker; preterm birth; methylation; pregnancy; gestation epigenetics; biomarker; preterm birth; methylation; pregnancy; gestation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Knight, A.K.; Smith, A.K. Epigenetic Biomarkers of Preterm Birth and Its Risk Factors. Genes 2016, 7, 15.

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