Trophoblast cells are required for the growth and survival of the fetus during pregnancy, and failure to maintain appropriate trophoblast regulation is associated with placental insufficiencies and intrauterine growth restriction. Development of the trophoblast lineage is mediated by interactions between genetic and epigenetic factors. This review will focus on new insights that have been gained from analysis of mouse models into the epigenetic mechanisms that are required for the early establishment of the trophoblast lineage and for the development of specialized cell types of the fetal placenta. In particular, the importance of DNA methylation, 5-hydroxymethylcytosine and histone modifications in orchestrating trophoblast gene expression and functional outcome will be discussed. These insights are beginning to be extended towards human studies and initial results suggest that the causes and consequences of a variety of placental pathologies are related to epigenetic processes. Furthermore, the epigenetic landscape that regulates trophoblast cells seems to be particularly vulnerable to perturbation during development. This has major implications for diet and other environmental factors during pregnancy. The placenta is required for the growth and survival of the fetus during pregnancy. © 2012, Reproductive Healthcare Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Rugg-Gunn, P. J. (2012). Epigenetic features of the mouse trophoblast. In Reproductive BioMedicine Online (Vol. 25, pp. 21–30). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rbmo.2012.01.012