Functional Genomics of Healthy and Pathological Fetal Membranes.
Premature preterm rupture of membranes (PPROM), rupture of fetal membranes before 37 weeks of gestation, is the leading identifiable cause of spontaneous preterm births. Often there is no obvious cause that is identified in a patient who presents with PPROM. Identifying the upstream molecular events that lead to fetal membrane weakening presents potentially actionable mechanisms which could lead to the identification of at-risk patients and to the development of new therapeutic interventions. Functional genomic studies have transformed understanding of the role of gene regulation in diverse cells and tissues involved health and disease. Here, we review the results of those studies in the context of fetal membranes. We will highlight relevant results from major coordinated functional genomics efforts and from targeted studies focused on individual cell or tissue models. Studies comparing gene expression and DNA methylation between healthy and pathological fetal membranes have found differential regulation between labor and quiescent tissue as well as in preterm births, preeclampsia, and recurrent pregnancy loss. Whole genome and exome sequencing studies have identified common and rare fetal variants associated with preterm births. However, few fetal membrane tissue studies have modeled the response to stimuli relevant to pregnancy. Fetal membranes are readily adaptable to cell culture and relevant cellular phenotypes are readily observable. For these reasons, this is now an unrealized opportunity for genomic studies isolating the effect of cell signaling cascades and mapping the fetal membrane responses that lead to PPROM and other pregnancy complications.
Cunningham, SJ; Feng, L; Allen, TK; Reddy, TE
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)