MicroRNAs as Epigenetic Targets of Cigarette Smoke During Embryonic Development

Ratnam S SeelanMichele M Pisano


The adverse developmental effects of exposure to Cigarette Smoke (CS) during pregnancy are documented in this paper. These include low birth weight, congenital anomalies, preterm birth, fetal mortality and morbidity. The current biological thought now recognizes that epigenetics represents a fundamental contributing process in embryogenesis, and that the environment can have a profound effect on shaping the epigenome. It has become increasingly recognized that genes encoding microRNAs (miRNAs) might be potential loci for congenital disabilities. One means by which CS can cause developmental anomalies may be through epigenetic mechanisms involving altered miRNA expression. While several studies have focused on genes affected by CS during embryonic/ fetal development, there is a paucity of knowledge on the involvement of miRNAs in this process. This brief review summarizes the current state of knowledge in this area.


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Related Concepts

Adverse Effects
Embryonic Development
Cigarette smoke (substance)

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