Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome prenatal diagnosis by methylation analysis in chorionic villi

Leda Paganini, Nicole Carlessi, Laura Fontana, Rosamaria Silipigni, Silvia Motta, Stefano Fiori, Silvana Guerneri, Faustina Lalatta, Anna Cereda, Silvia Sirchia, Monica Miozzo, Silvia Tabano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome (BWS) is an imprinting disorder that can be prenatally suspected or diagnosed based on established clinical guidelines. Molecular confirmation is commonly performed on amniocytes. The possibility to use fresh (CVF) and cultured (CVC) chorionic villi has never been investigated. To verify whether CVF and CVC are reliable sources of DNA to study fetal methylation, we used pyrosequencing to test the methylation level of a number of differentially methylated regions (DMRs) at several imprinted loci (ICR1, ICR2, H19, PWS/AS-ICR, GNASXL, GNAS1A, ZAC/PLAGL1, and MEST) and at non-imprinted MGMT and RASSF1A promoters. We analyzed these regions in 19 healthy pregnancies and highlighted stable methylation levels between CVF and CVC at ICR1, ICR2, GNASXL, PWS/AS-ICR, and MEST. Conversely, the methylation levels at H19 promoter, GNAS1A and ZAC/PLAGL1 were different in CVC compared to fresh CV. We also investigated ICR1 and ICR2 methylation level of CVF/CVC of 2 BWS-suspected fetuses (P1 and P2). P1 showed ICR2 hypomethylation, P2 showed normal methylation at both ICR1 and ICR2. Our findings, although limited to one case of BWS fetus with an imprinting defect, can suggest that ICR1 and ICR2, but not H19, could be reliable targets for prenatal BWS diagnosis by methylation test in CVF and CVC. In addition, PWS/AS-ICR, GNASXL, and MEST, but not GNAS1A and ZAC/PLAGL1, are steadily hemimethylated in CV from healthy pregnancies, independently from culture. Thus, prenatal investigation of genomic imprinting in CV needs to be validated in a locus-specific manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-649
Number of pages7
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome
  • Chorionic villi
  • DNA methylation
  • Imprinting
  • Prenatal diagnosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


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