Methylation changes and pathways affected in preterm birth: a role for SLC6A3 in neurodevelopment
Aim: To analyze whether preterm newborns show differences in methylation patterns in comparison to full-term newborns in white blood cells. Patients & methods: Anthropometrical, biochemical features and methylation levels of preterm newborns (n = 24) and full-term newborns (n = 22) recruited in La Paz University Hospital (Spain) were assessed at 12 months of gestational age, whereas Bayley Scale of Infant Development was evaluated at 24/36 months. Results: From all the statistically significant CpGs, methylation levels of cg00997378 (SLC6A3 gene) showed the highest differences (p < 0.0001), being associated with prematurity risk factors. Conclusion: SLC6A3 methylation, previously related to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, neuronal function and behavior, might be a potential epigenetic biomarker with value in the early diagnosis and management of neurodevelopmental diseases in newborns.