Aim: Congenital heart diseases are the most common birth defects worldwide and leading cause of infant mortality. The perimembranous ventricular septal defect is most prevalent. Epigenetics may provide an underlying mechanism of the gene-environment interactions involved. Materials & methods: We examined epigenome-wide DNA methylation using the Illumina HumanMethylation450 BeadChip in 84 case children and 196 control children. Results: We identified differential methylation of a CpG locus (cg17001566) within the PRDM16 gene after Bonferroni correction (p = 9.17 × 10-8). This was validated by bisulfite pyrosequencing. PRDM16 functions as a repressor of TGF-β signaling controlling tissue morphogenesis crucial during cardiogenesis. At 15% false-discovery rate, we identified seven additional CpG loci. Conclusion: These findings provide novel insights in the pathogenesis of perimembranous ventricular septal defect, which is of interest for future prediction and prevention.

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Keywords bisulfite pyrosequencing, case-control studies, DNA methylation, epigenetics, epigenome-wide, Illumina 450k, perimembranous ventricular septal defects
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Journal Epigenomics
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Wijnands, K.P.J, Chen, J. (Jun), Liang, L, Verbiest, M.M.P.J, Lin, X. (Xihong), Helbing, W.A, … Steegers-Theunissen, R.P.M. (2017). Genome-wide methylation analysis identifies novel CpG loci for perimembranous ventricular septal defects in human. Epigenomics, 9(3), 241–251. doi:10.2217/epi-2016-0093