Association between length of gestation and cervical DNA methylation of PTGER2 and LINE 1-HS

Heather H. Burris, Andrea A. Baccarelli, Valeria Motta, Hyang Min Byun, Allan C. Just, Adriana Mercado-Garcia, Joel Schwartz, Katherine Svensson, Martha M. Téllez-Rojo, Robert O. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Worldwide, more than 1 in 10 infants is born prior to 37 weeks gestation. preterm birth can lead to increased mortality risk and poor life-long health and neurodevelopmental outcomes. Whether environmental risk factors affect preterm birth through epigenetic phenomena is largely unstudied. We sought to determine whether preterm risk factors, such as smoke exposure and education, were associated with cervical DNA methylation in the prostaglandin E receptor 2 gene (PTGER2) and a repetitive element, long interspersed nuclear element-1 Homo sapiens-specific (LINE1-HS). second, we aimed to determine whether mid-pregnancy DNA methylation of these regions in cervical samples could predict the length of gestation. We obtained a cervical swab between 16-19 weeks gestation from 80 women participating in a Mexico city birth cohort, used pyrosequencing to analyze DNA methylation of PTGER2 and LINE1-HS, and examined associations with maternal covariates. We used accelerated failure time models to analyze associations of DNA methylation with the length of gestation. DNA methylation of both sequences was associated with pap smear inflammation. LINE 1-HS methylation was associated with smoke exposure, BMI and parity. In adjusted models, gestations were 3.3 days longer (95%CI0.6, 6.0) for each interquartile range of PTGER2 DNA methylation. higher LINE1-HS methylation was associated with shorter gestations (-3.3 days, 95%CI-6.5, -0.2). in conclusion, cervical DNA methylation was associated with risk factors for preterm birth and the length of gestation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1083-1091
Number of pages9
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - May 8 2014


  • Cervix
  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetics
  • LINE 1
  • Preterm birth
  • PTGER2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


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