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Ghosh J, Coutifaris C, Sapienza C, Mainigi M
Global DNA methylation levels are altered by modifiable clinical manipulations in assisted reproductive technologies
Clin Epigenetics (2017) 9:14.
BACKGROUND: We analyzed placental DNA methylation levels at repeated sequences (LINE1 elements) and all CCGG sites (the LUMA assay) to study the effect of modifiable clinical or laboratory procedures involved in in vitro fertilization. We included four potential modifiable factors: oxygen tension during embryo culture, fresh embryo transfer vs frozen embryo transfer, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) vs conventional insemination or day 3 embryo transfer vs day 5 embryo transfer. RESULTS: Global methylation levels differed between placentas from natural conceptions compared to placentas conceived by IVF. Placentas from embryos cultured at 20% oxygen showed significant differences in LINE1 methylation compared to in vivo conceptions, while those from embryos cultured at 5% oxygen, did not have significant differences. In addition, placentas from fresh embryo transfer had significantly different LINE1 methylation compared to placentas from in vivo conceptions, while embryos resulting from frozen embryos were not significantly different from controls. On sex-stratified analysis, only males had significant methylation differences at LINE1 elements stratified for the modifiable factors. As expected, LINE1 methylation was significantly different between males and females in the control population. However, we did not observe sex-specific differences in the IVF group. We validated this sex-specific observation in an additional cohort and in opposite sex IVF twins. CONCLUSION: We show that two clinically modifiable factors (embryo culture in 5 vs 20% oxygen tension and fresh vs frozen embryo transfer) are associated with global placental methylation differences. Interestingly, males appear more vulnerable to such treatment-related global changes in DNA methylation than do females.
Publication Date: 2017-02-01.
PMCID: PMC5295214
Last updated on Saturday, August 22, 2020