Gene expression in the placenta: Maternal stress and epigenetic responses

Ciprian P. Gheorghe, Ravi Goyal, Ashwani Mittal, Lawrence D. Longo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Successful placental development is crucial for optimal growth, development, maturation and survival of the embryo/fetus into adulthood. Numerous epidemiologic and experimental studies have demonstrated the profound influence of intrauterine environment on life, and the diseases to which one is subject as an adult. For the most part, these invidious influences, whether maternal hypoxia, protein or caloric deficiency or excess, and others, represent types of maternal stress. In the present review, we examine certain aspects of gene expression in the placenta as a consequence of maternal stressors. To examine these issues in a controlled manner, and in a species in which the genome has been sequenced, most of these reported studies have been performed in the mouse. Although each individual maternal stress is characterized by upor down-regulation of specific genes in the placenta, functional analysis reveals some patterns of gene expression common to the several forms of stress. Of critical importance, these genes include those involved in DNA methylation and histone modification, cell cycle regulation, and related global pathways of great relevance to epigenesis and the developmental origins of adult health and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-523
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Biology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetics
  • Gene regulation
  • Microarray
  • Placenta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Embryology
  • Developmental Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Gene expression in the placenta: Maternal stress and epigenetic responses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this