Despite the successful application of ART over the past three decades, some studies have suggested an association with an increased risk of rare imprinting disorder. The effect of ART on the placental epigenome has been the topic of lively debate in recent years, with evidence that ART may be associated with altered epigenetic status in the placenta. These changes could potentially disrupt placental function, impacting on the health of the offspring. In this study we combined next-generation sequencing technology with chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP-Seq) to study histone modifications in placentae derived from natural conceptions and compare these with placentae derived from different ART protocols. This study represents the first genome-wide study into the effects of different ART protocols on placental epigenetics. It is anticipated that the findings of this study will impact on future developments in ART procedures and may lead to therapeutic interventions that eliminate any adverse effects ART may have on the epigenetic status of both the placenta and child.
The results for this project were presented at the Fertility Society of Australia annual scientific meeting 2014 and are currently being prepared for publication.