Special Issue "Genetic and Epigenetic Regulation of Placental Development and Disease"

A special issue of Genes (ISSN 2073-4425). This special issue belongs to the section "Human Genomics and Genetic Diseases".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 January 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Nihar R Nayak
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Guest Editor
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UMKC School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA
Prof. Dr. Gary Sutkin
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Guest Editor
Department(s) of Biomedical and Health Informatics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, UMKC School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA
Prof. Dr. Sunil Jaiman
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Guest Editor
Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 48201, USA

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Precise regulation of placental gene expression at each stage of pregnancy is crucial for the successful establishment and maintenance of pregnancy. Dysregulation of these gene regulatory mechanisms during pregnancy has been implicated in most pregnancy complications, including preeclampsia, preterm birth, intrauterine growth restriction, abruptio placentae, and late spontaneous abortion, which have enormous impacts on the life-long health of mothers and the babies born to mothers with these conditions. However, the molecular underpinnings of placental developmental defects leading to such pregnancy complications are still poorly understood. By understanding the molecular pathways and the distinct defects in trophoblast development and differentiation associated with each pregnancy disease, we could develop much needed diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic strategies for these diseases.

The goal of this Special Issue is to publish high-quality manuscripts with special emphasis on the genetic and epigenetic regulation of normal placental development and placental developmental defects leading to different pregnancy complications. We welcome reviews, new methods, short communications, and original articles covering all aspects of trophoblast development and differentiation and pregnancy diseases using culture models, clinical studies, and animal models. Priorities for publication will be given to studies related to the impact of DNA methylation, histone post-translational modifications, non-coding RNA (long non-coding RNA and microRNA), and epigenetic biomarkers for pregnancy diseases.

We look forward to your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Nihar R Nayak
Prof. Dr. Gary Sutkin
Prof. Dr. Sunil Jaiman
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genes is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Placenta 
  • Trophoblast invasion 
  • Trophoblast differentiation 
  • Maternal–fetal interaction 
  • Spiral artery remodeling 
  • Vascular complications in pregnancy 
  • Pregnancy diseases 
  • Gene regulation 
  • Epigenetic regulation 
  • Biomarkers for pregnancy diseases 
  • Implantation 
  • Placental development

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Article
Characterization of Copy-Number Variations and Possible Candidate Genes in Recurrent Pregnancy Losses
Genes 2021, 12(2), 141; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12020141 - 22 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 737
Abstract
It is well established that embryonic chromosomal abnormalities (both in the number of chromosomes and the structure) account for 50% of early pregnancy losses. However, little is known regarding the potential differences in the incidence and distribution of chromosomal abnormalities between patients with [...] Read more.
It is well established that embryonic chromosomal abnormalities (both in the number of chromosomes and the structure) account for 50% of early pregnancy losses. However, little is known regarding the potential differences in the incidence and distribution of chromosomal abnormalities between patients with sporadic abortion (SA) and recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL), let alone the role of submicroscopic copy-number variations (CNVs) in these cases. The aim of the present study was to systematically evaluate the role of embryonic chromosomal abnormalities and CNVs in the etiology of RPL compared with SA. Over a 3-year period, 1556 fresh products of conception (POCs) from miscarriage specimens were investigated using single nucleotide polymorphism array (SNP-array) and CNV sequencing (CNV-seq) in this study, along with further functional enrichment analysis. Chromosomal abnormalities were identified in 57.52% (895/1556) of all cases. Comparisons of the incidence and distributions of chromosomal abnormalities within the SA group and RPL group and within the different age groups were performed. Moreover, 346 CNVs in 173 cases were identified, including 272 duplications, 2 deletions and 72 duplications along with deletions. Duplications in 16q24.3 and 16p13.3 were significantly more frequent in RPL cases, and thereby considered to be associated with RPL. There were 213 genes and 131 signaling pathways identified as potential RPL candidate genes and signaling pathways, respectively, which were centered primarily on six functional categories. The results of the present study may improve our understanding of the etiologies of RPL and assist in the establishment of a population-based diagnostic panel of genetic markers for screening RPL amongst Chinese women. Full article
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Review

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Review
Novel Technologies for Target Delivery of Therapeutics to the Placenta during Pregnancy: A Review
Genes 2021, 12(8), 1255; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12081255 - 17 Aug 2021
Viewed by 424
Abstract
Uterine spiral artery remodeling is essential for placental perfusion and fetal growth and, when impaired, results in placental ischemia and pregnancy complications, e.g., fetal growth restriction, preeclampsia, premature birth. Despite the high incidence of adverse pregnancies, current treatment options are limited. Accordingly, research [...] Read more.
Uterine spiral artery remodeling is essential for placental perfusion and fetal growth and, when impaired, results in placental ischemia and pregnancy complications, e.g., fetal growth restriction, preeclampsia, premature birth. Despite the high incidence of adverse pregnancies, current treatment options are limited. Accordingly, research has shifted to the development of gene therapy technologies that provide targeted delivery of “payloads” to the placenta while limiting maternal and fetal exposure. This review describes the current strategies, including placental targeting peptide-bound liposomes, nanoparticle or adenovirus constructs decorated with specific peptide sequences and placental gene promoters delivered via maternal IV injection, directly into the placenta or the uterine artery, as well as noninvasive site-selective targeting of regulating genes conjugated with microbubbles via contrast-enhanced ultrasound. The review also provides a perspective on the effectiveness of these technologies in various animal models and their practicability and potential use for targeted placental delivery of therapeutics and genes in adverse human pregnancies affected by placental dysfunction. Full article
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Review
Quantifying Fetal Reprogramming for Biomarker Development in the Era of High-Throughput Sequencing
Genes 2021, 12(3), 329; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12030329 - 25 Feb 2021
Viewed by 608
Abstract
Gestational hypertensive disorders continue to threaten the well-being of pregnant women and their offspring. The only current definitive treatment for gestational hypertensive disorders is delivery of the fetus. The optimal timing of delivery remains controversial. Currently, the available clinical tools do not allow [...] Read more.
Gestational hypertensive disorders continue to threaten the well-being of pregnant women and their offspring. The only current definitive treatment for gestational hypertensive disorders is delivery of the fetus. The optimal timing of delivery remains controversial. Currently, the available clinical tools do not allow for assessment of fetal stress in its early stages. Placental insufficiency and fetal growth restriction secondary to gestational hypertensive disorders have been shown to have long-term impacts on offspring health even into their adulthood, becoming one of the major focuses of research in the field of developmental origins of health and disease. Fetal reprogramming was introduced to describe the long-lasting effects of the toxic intrauterine environment on the growing fetus. With the advent of high-throughput sequencing, there have been major advances in research attempting to quantify fetal reprogramming. Moreover, genes that are found to be differentially expressed as a result of fetal reprogramming show promise in the development of transcriptional biomarkers for clinical use in detecting fetal response to placental insufficiency. In this review, we will review key pathophysiology in the development of placental insufficiency, existing literature on high-throughput sequencing in the study of fetal reprogramming, and considerations regarding research design from our own experience. Full article
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