Background Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) are believed to destabilise genomic imprints. An increased frequency of Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome in children born after ART has been reported. Other, mostly epidemiological, studies argue against this finding.
Objective To examine the effect of ART on the stability of DNA methylation imprints, DNA was extracted from maternal peripheral blood (MPB), umbilical cord blood (UCB) and amnion/chorion tissue (ACT) of 185 phenotypically normal children (77 ICSI, 35 IVF, and 73 spontaneous conceptions). Using bisulfite based technologies 10 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) were analysed, including KvDMR1, H19, SNRPN, MEST, GRB10, DLK1/MEG3 IG-DMR, GNAS NESP55, GNAS NESPas, GNAS XL-alpha-s and GNAS Exon1A.
Results Methylation indices (MI) do not reveal any significant differences at nine DMRs among the conception groups in neither MPB, UCB nor in ACT. The only slightly variable DMR was that of MEST. Here the mean MI was higher in UCB and MPB of IVF cases (mean MI±SD: 0.41±0.03 (UCB) and 0.40±0.03 (MPB)) compared to the ICSI (0.38±0.03, p=0.003 (UCB); 0.37±0.04, p=0.0007 (MPB)) or spontaneous cases (0.38±0.03, p=0.003 (UCB); 0.38±0.04, p=0.02 (MPB)). Weak but suggestive correlations between DMRs were, however, found between MPB, UCB and ACT.
Conclusion This study supports the notion that children conceived by ART do not show a higher degree of imprint variability and hence do not have an a priori higher risk for imprinting disorders.
- DNA methylation
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Funding Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, grant no. DI 836/1-1 and NE 531-6-1.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the ethics committees Lübeck No. 06-029/2006, Berlin No. 14/2004.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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