Placental CpG methylation of HPA-axis genes is associated with cognitive impairment at age 10 among children born extremely preterm

C J Meakin, E M Martin, H P Santos Jr, I Mokrova, K Kuban, T M O’Shea, R M Joseph, L Smeester, R C Fry

Horm Behav. 2018 Mar 5. pii: S0018-506X(17)30336-7.

PubMed Link

We set out to determine if CpG methylation of HPA axis-associated genes in the placenta was predictive of children’s health outcomes. 14 genes known to play a role in HPA axis function were examined across 84 placental samples from the ELGAN cohort and included in a multi-variable logistic regression model. The methylation levels for a set of nine HPA axis-associated genes were significantly (p<0.05) associated with LPA score at 10 years of age. Overall, 9 HPA axis associated genes were significantly associated with LPA score later in life and play key roles in regulating HPA axis function and also play integral roles in memory, learning, and the development of psychological disorders. Given the plasticity of the epigenome during the prenatal period, these alterations could be influenced by exposure to environmental contaminants, including EDCs.