BMC Medical Genomics
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A normally developed placenta is integral to a successful pregnancy. Preeclampsia (PE) and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) are two common pregnancy related complications that maybe a result of abnormal placental development. Placental microRNAs (miRNAs) have been investigated as potential biomarkers for these complications, as they may play a role in placental development and pathophysiology by influencing gene expression. The purpose of this study is to utilize next-generation sequencing to determine miRNA and gene expression in human placental (chorionic villous) samples from three distinct patient groups with early-onset (EO) PE, IUGR, or PE + IUGR.
Placental tissues were collected from four patient groups (control [N = 21], EO-PE [N = 20], EO-IUGR [N = 18], and EO-PE + IUGR [N = 20]), and total RNA was used for miRNA and RNA sequencing on the Illumina Hiseq2000 platform. For stringent differential expression analysis multiple analysis programs were used to analyze both expression datasets in each patient group compared to gestational age-matched controls.
Analysis revealed miRNAs and genes that are disease-specific, as well as others that were common between disease groups, which suggests common underlying placental pathologies in EO-PE and EO-IUGR. More specifically, 6 miRNAs and 22 genes were identified to be differentially expressed in all three patient groups. In addition, integrative analysis between the miRNA and gene expression datasets revealed candidate gene targets for miRNAs of interest.
Integration of miRNA and RNA profiling in the same three subgroups of pregnancy complications, provides an alternate level of molecular information, in addition it can be used to better understand both unique and common molecular mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of these diseases.