Characterization of gene expression changes over healthy term pregnancies

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During pregnancy, women experience numerous physiological changes but, to date, there is limited published data that characterize accompanying changes in gene expression over pregnancy. This study sought to characterize the complexity of the transcriptome over the course of pregnancy among women with healthy pregnancies. Subjects provided a venous blood sample during early (6-15 weeks) and late (22-33 weeks) pregnancy, which was used to isolate peripheral blood mononuclear cells prior to RNA extraction. Gene expression was examined for 63 women with uncomplicated, term deliveries. We evaluated the association between weeks gestation at sample collection and expression of each transcript. Of the 16,311 transcripts evaluated, 439 changed over pregnancy after a Bonferroni correction to account for multiple comparisons. Genes whose expression increased over pregnancy were associated with oxygen transport, the immune system, and host response to bacteria. Characterization of changes in the transcriptome over the course of healthy term pregnancies may enable the identification of genes whose expression predicts complications or adverse outcomes of pregnancy.




Knight, A. K., Dunlop, A. L., Kilaru, V., Cobb, D., Corwin, E. J., Conneely, K. N., & Smith, A. K. (2018). Characterization of gene expression changes over healthy term pregnancies. PLoS ONE, 13(10).

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