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BioMed Research International
Volume 2019, Article ID 1315257, 11 pages
Research Article

Epigenetic Modifications in Placenta are Associated with the Child’s Sensitization to Allergens

1Institute of Laboratory Medicine, Member of the German Center for Lung Research (DZL) and the Universities of Giessen and Marburg Lung Center (UGMLC), Philipps-University Marburg, Germany
2International Inflammation (in-VIVO) Network, Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), West New York, NJ, USA
3Division of Immunology, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
4College of Pharmacy, International University for Science and Technology (IUST), Daraa, Syria
5Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institutet, and Sachs' Children and Youth Hospital, Södersjukhuset, Stockholm, Sweden
6Institute for Immunological Research, University of Cartagena, Cartagena, Colombia
7Unit of Biostatistics, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
8Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Pathology, Section of Perinatal Pathology, Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden
9John Paul II Hospital, Krakow, Poland
10Clinical Genomics, Science for Life Laboratory, Stockholm, Sweden

Correspondence should be addressed to Daniel P. Potaczek; ed.grubram-inu.ffats@kezcatop.leinad

Hani Harb and Bilal Alashkar Alhamwe contributed equally to this work. Daniel P. Potaczek and Annika Scheynius also contributed equally to this work.

Received 30 December 2018; Revised 19 February 2019; Accepted 12 March 2019; Published 17 April 2019

Academic Editor: Oscar Palomares

Copyright © 2019 Hani Harb et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Prenatal environmental exposures are considered to contribute to the development of allergic sensitization by epigenetic mechanisms. The role of histone acetylation in the placenta has not been examined yet. We hypothesized that placental histone acetylation at the promoter regions of allergy-related immune regulatory genes is associated with the development of sensitization to allergens in the child. Histones H3 and H4 acetylation at the promoter regions of 6 selected allergy-related immune regulatory genes was assessed by a chromatin immunoprecipitation assay in 173 term placentas collected in the prospective birth-cohort ALADDIN. The development of IgE sensitization to allergens in the children was followed from 6 months up to 5 years of age. We discovered significant associations of histone acetylation levels with decreased risk of allergic sensitization in 3 genes. Decreased risk of sensitization to food allergens was associated with higher H3 acetylation levels in placentas at the IFNG and SH2B3 genes, and for H4 acetylation in HDAC4. Higher HDAC4 H4 acetylation levels were also associated with a decreased risk of sensitization to aeroallergens. In conclusion, our results suggest that acetylation of histones in placenta has a potential to predict the development of sensitization to allergens in children.