East Limburg Hospital

Genk, Belgium

East Limburg Hospital

Genk, Belgium
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Janssen B.G.,Hasselt University | Munters E.,Hasselt University | Pieters N.,Hasselt University | Smeets K.,Hasselt University | And 8 more authors.
Environmental Health Perspectives | Year: 2012

Background: Studies emphasize the importance of particulate matter (PM) in the formation of reactive oxygen species and inflammation. We hypothesized that these processes can influence mitochondrial function of the placenta and fetus. Objective: We investigated the influence of PM10 exposure during pregnancy on the mitochondrial DNA content (mtDNA content) of the placenta and umbilical cord blood. Methods: DNA was extracted from placental tissue (n = 174) and umbilical cord leukocytes (n = 176). Relative mtDNA copy numbers (i.e., mtDNA content) were determined by real-time polymerase chain reaction. Multiple regression models were used to link mtDNA content and in utero exposure to PM10 over various time windows during pregnancy. Results: In multivariate-adjusted analysis, a 10-μg/m3 increase in PM10 exposure during the last month of pregnancy was associated with a 16.1% decrease [95% confidence interval (CI): -25.2, -6.0%, p = 0.003] in placental mtDNA content. The corresponding effect size for average PM10 exposure during the third trimester was 17.4% (95% CI: -31.8, -0.1%, p = 0.05). Furthermore, we found that each doubling in residential distance to major roads was associated with an increase in placental mtDNA content of 4.0% (95% CI: 0.4, 7.8%, p = 0.03). No association was found between cord blood mtDNA content and PM10 exposure. Conclusions: Prenatal PM10 exposure was associated with placental mitochondrial alterations, which may both reflect and intensify oxidative stress production. The potential health consequences of decreased placental mtDNA content in early life must be further elucidated.


Janssen B.G.,Hasselt University | Godderis L.,Catholic University of Leuven | Pieters N.,Hasselt University | Poels K.,Catholic University of Leuven | And 10 more authors.
Particle and Fibre Toxicology | Year: 2013

Background: There is evidence that altered DNA methylation is an important epigenetic mechanism in prenatal programming and that developmental periods are sensitive to environmental stressors. We hypothesized that exposure to fine particles (PM2.5) during pregnancy could influence DNA methylation patterns of the placenta.Methods: In the ENVIRONAGE birth cohort, levels of 5'-methyl-deoxycytidine (5-mdC) and deoxycytidine (dC) were quantified in placental DNA from 240 newborns. Multiple regression models were used to study placental global DNA methylation and in utero exposure to PM2.5 over various time windows during pregnancy.Results: PM2.5 exposure during pregnancy averaged (25th-75th percentile) 17.4 (15.4-19.3) μg/m3. Placental global DNA methylation was inversely associated with PM2.5 exposures during whole pregnancy and relatively decreased by 2.19% (95% confidence interval [CI]: -3.65, -0.73%, p = 0.004) for each 5 μg/m3 increase in exposure to PM2.5. In a multi-lag model in which all three trimester exposures were fitted as independent variables in the same regression model, only exposure to PM2.5 during trimester 1 was significantly associated with lower global DNA methylation (-2.13% per 5 μg/m3 increase, 95% CI: -3.71, -0.54%, p = 0.009). When we analyzed shorter time windows of exposure within trimester 1, we observed a lower placental DNA methylation at birth during all implantation stages but exposure during the implantation range (6-21d) was strongest associated (-1.08% per 5 μg/m3 increase, 95% CI: -1.80, -0.36%, p = 0.004).Conclusions: We observed a lower degree of placental global DNA methylation in association with exposure to particulate air pollution in early pregnancy, including the critical stages of implantation. Future studies should elucidate genome-wide and gene-specific methylation patterns in placental tissue that could link particulate exposure during in utero life and early epigenetic modulations. © 2013 Janssen et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Bogaerts A.F.L.,Limburg Catholic University College | Devlieger R.,University Hospitals | Nuyts E.,Hasselt University | Witters I.,Prenatal Diagnosis East Limburg Hospital Genk | And 8 more authors.
Obesity Facts | Year: 2013

Background: The psychological health in obese women during pregnancy has been poorly studied. Objective: To compare levels of anxiety and depressed mood during pregnancy in obese versus normal-weight women. Methods: 63 obese pregnant women and 156 normal-weight controls were included prospectively before 15 weeks of gestation. Levels of state and trait anxiety and depressed mood were measured during the first, second and third trimester of pregnancy. A linear mixed-effect model with repeated measures was used to evaluate group differences. Results: The levels of state anxiety significantly increased from trimester 1 to trimester 3 in obese pregnant women (beta = 3.70; p = 0.007), while this parameter remained constant throughout pregnancy in normal-weight women. Levels of trait anxiety and depressed mood significantly decreased from trimester 1 to trimester 2 in controls, but not in obese pregnant women. Variables such as maternal education, ethnicity, marital state, psychological history and miscarriages, parity and smoking behaviour had significant effects on anxiety and/or depressed moods during pregnancy. Obese pregnant women show higher levels of anxiety and depressive symptomatology compared to normal-weight pregnant women. Conclusion: Interventional programmes aiming at preventing the deleterious influence of maternal obesity on perinatal outcomes should include a psycho-educational program specifically tailored to this high-risk group. Copyright © 2013 S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg.


Bogaerts A.F.L.,Limburg Catholic University College | Devlieger R.,Catholic University of Leuven | Nuyts E.,Limburg Catholic University College | Witters I.,Catholic University of Leuven | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Obesity | Year: 2013

Objective:Lifestyle intervention could help obese pregnant women to limit their weight gain during pregnancy and improve their psychological comfort, but has not yet been evaluated in randomized controlled trials. We evaluated whether a targeted antenatal lifestyle intervention programme for obese pregnant women influences gestational weight gain (GWG) and levels of anxiety or depressed mood.Design and subjects:This study used a longitudinal interventional design. Of the 235 eligible obese pregnant women, 205 (mean age (years): 29±4.5; body mass index (BMI, kg m-2): 34.7±4.6) were randomized to a control group, a brochure group receiving written information on healthy lifestyle and an experimental group receiving an additional four antenatal lifestyle intervention sessions by a midwife trained in motivational lifestyle intervention. Anxiety (State and Trait Anxiety Inventory) and feelings of depression (Edinburgh Depression Scale) were measured during the first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Socio-demographical, behavioural, psychological and medical variables were used for controlling and correcting outcome variables.Results:We found a significant reduction of GWG in the brochure (9.5 kg) and lifestyle intervention (10.6 kg) group compared with normal care group (13.5 kg) (P=0.007). Furthermore, levels of anxiety significantly decreased in the lifestyle intervention group and increased in the normal care group during pregnancy (P=0.02); no differences were demonstrated in the brochure group. Pre-pregnancy BMI was positively related to levels of anxiety. Obese pregnant women who stopped smoking recently showed a significant higher GWG (β=3.04; P=0.01); those with concurrent gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) (β=3.54; P=0.03) and those who consumed alcohol on a regular base (β=3.69; P=0.04) showed significant higher levels of state anxiety. No differences in depressed mood or obstetrical/neonatal outcomes were observed between the three groups.Conclusions:A targeted lifestyle intervention programme based on the principles of motivational interviewing reduces GWG and levels of anxiety in obese pregnant women. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited.


Kishen R.,Salford Royal Hospitals NHS Trust | Kishen R.,University of Manchester | Honore P.M.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Jacobs R.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | And 6 more authors.
International Journal of Nephrology and Renovascular Disease | Year: 2014

Acid-base disorders are common in the critically ill. Most of these disorders do not cause harm and are self-limiting after appropriate resuscitation and management. Unfortunately, clinicians tend to think about an acid-base disturbance as a "disease" and spend long hours effectively treating numbers rather than the patient. Moreover, a sizable number of intensive-care physicians experience difficulties in interpreting the significance of or understanding the etiology of certain forms of acid-base disequilibria. Traditional tools for interpreting acid-base disorders may not be adequate for analyzing the complex nature of these metabolic abnormalities. Inappropriate interpretation may also lead to wrong clinical conclusions and incorrectly influence clinical management (eg, bicarbonate therapy for metabolic acidosis in different clinical situations). The Stewart approach, based on physicochemical principles, is a robust physiological concept that can facilitate the interpretation and analysis of simple, mixed, and complex acid-base disorders, thereby allowing better diagnosis of the cause of the disturbance and more timely treatment. However, as the concept does not attach importance to plasma bicarbonate, clinicians may find it complicated to use in their daily clinical practice. This article reviews various approaches to interpreting acid-base disorders and suggests the integration of base-excess and Stewart approach for a better interpretation of these metabolic disorders. © 2014 Kishen et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited.


PubMed | University of Bordeaux Segalen, University of Salford, East Limburg Hospital and Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Type: | Journal: International journal of nephrology and renovascular disease | Year: 2014

Acid-base disorders are common in the critically ill. Most of these disorders do not cause harm and are self-limiting after appropriate resuscitation and management. Unfortunately, clinicians tend to think about an acid-base disturbance as a disease and spend long hours effectively treating numbers rather than the patient. Moreover, a sizable number of intensive-care physicians experience difficulties in interpreting the significance of or understanding the etiology of certain forms of acid-base disequilibria. Traditional tools for interpreting acid-base disorders may not be adequate for analyzing the complex nature of these metabolic abnormalities. Inappropriate interpretation may also lead to wrong clinical conclusions and incorrectly influence clinical management (eg, bicarbonate therapy for metabolic acidosis in different clinical situations). The Stewart approach, based on physicochemical principles, is a robust physiological concept that can facilitate the interpretation and analysis of simple, mixed, and complex acid-base disorders, thereby allowing better diagnosis of the cause of the disturbance and more timely treatment. However, as the concept does not attach importance to plasma bicarbonate, clinicians may find it complicated to use in their daily clinical practice. This article reviews various approaches to interpreting acid-base disorders and suggests the integration of base-excess and Stewart approach for a better interpretation of these metabolic disorders.


Janssen B.G.,Hasselt University | Byun H.-M.,Harvard University | Gyselaers W.,East Limburg Hospital | Gyselaers W.,Hasselt University | And 4 more authors.
Epigenetics | Year: 2015

Most research to date has focused on epigenetic modifications in the nuclear genome, with little attention devoted to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Placental mtDNA content has been shown to respond to environmental exposures that induce oxidative stress, including airborne particulate matter (PM). Damaged or non-functioning mitochondria are specifically degraded through mitophagy, exemplified by lower mtDNA content, and could be primed by epigenetic modifications in the mtDNA. We studied placental mtDNA methylation in the context of the early life exposome. We investigated placental tissue from 381 mother-newborn pairs that were enrolled in the ENVIRONAGE birth cohort. We determined mtDNA methylation by bisulfite-pyrosequencing in 2 regions, i.e., the D-loop control region and 12S rRNA (MT-RNR1), and measured mtDNA content by qPCR. PM2.5 exposure was calculated for each participant's home address using a dispersion model. An interquartile range (IQR) increment in PM2.5 exposure over the entire pregnancy was positively associated with mtDNA methylation (MT-RNR1: +0.91%, P = 0.01 and D-loop: +0.21%, P = 0.05) and inversely associated with mtDNA content (relative change of −15.60%, P = 0.001) in placental tissue. mtDNA methylation was estimated to mediate 54% [P = 0.01 (MT-RNR1)] and 27% [P = 0.06 (D-loop)] of the inverse association between PM2.5 exposure and mtDNA content. This study provides new insight into the mechanisms of altered mitochondrial function in the early life environment. Epigenetic modifications in the mitochondrial genome, especially in the MT-RNR1 region, substantially mediate the association between PM2.5 exposure during gestation and placental mtDNA content, which could reflect signs of mitophagy and mitochondrial death. © Bram G Janssen, Hyang-Min Byun, Wilfried Gyselaers, Wouter Lefebvre, Andrea A Baccarelli, and Tim S Nawrot.


Janssen B.G.,Hasselt University | Byun H.M.,Laboratory of Environmental Epigenetics | Cox B.,Hasselt University | Gyselaers W.,East Limburg Hospital | And 5 more authors.
Placenta | Year: 2014

Background Epigenetics is tissue-specific and potentially even cell-specific, but little information is available from human reproductive studies about the concordance of DNA methylation patterns in cord blood and placenta, as well as within-placenta variations. We evaluated methylation levels at promoter regions of candidate genes in biological ageing pathways (SIRT1, TP53, PPARG, PPARGC1A, and TFAM), a subtelomeric region (D4Z4) and the mitochondrial genome (MT-RNR1, D-loop). Methods Ninety individuals were randomly chosen from the ENVIRONAGE birth cohort to evaluate methylation concordance between cord blood and placenta using highly quantitative bisulfite-PCR pyrosequencing. In a subset of nineteen individuals, a more extensive sampling scheme was performed to examine within-placenta variation. Results The DNA methylation levels of the subtelomeric region and mitochondrial genome showed concordance between cord blood and placenta with correlation coefficients ranging from r = 0.31 to 0.43, p ≤ 0.005, and also between the maternal and foetal sides of placental tissue (r = 0.53 to 0.72, p ≤ 0.05). For the majority of targets, an agreement in methylation levels between four foetal biopsies was found (with intra-class correlation coefficients ranging from 0.16 to 0.72), indicating small within-placenta variation. Conclusions The methylation levels of the subtelomeric region (D4Z4) and mitochondrial genome (MT-RNR1, D-loop) showed concordance between cord blood and placenta, suggesting a common epigenetic signature of these targets between tissues. Concordance was lacking between the other genes that were studied. In placental tissue, methylation patterns of most targets on the mitochondrial-telomere axis were not strongly influenced by sample location. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Martens D.S.,Hasselt University | Plusquin M.,Hasselt University | Plusquin M.,Imperial College London | Gyselaers W.,East Limburg Hospital | And 3 more authors.
BMC Medicine | Year: 2016

Background: Newborn telomere length sets telomere length for later life. At birth, telomere length is highly variable among newborns and the environmental factors during in utero life for this observation remain largely unidentified. Obesity during pregnancy might reflect an adverse nutritional status affecting pregnancy and offspring outcomes, but the association of maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) with newborn telomere length, as a mechanism of maternal obesity, on the next generation has not been addressed. Methods: Average relative telomere lengths were measured in cord blood (n = 743) and placental tissue (n = 702) samples using a quantitative real-time PCR method from newborns from the ENVIRONAGE birth cohort in Belgium. By using univariate and multivariable adjusted linear regression models we addressed the associations between pre-pregnancy BMI and cord blood and placental telomere lengths. Results: Maternal age was 29.1 years (range, 17-44) and mean (SD) pre-pregnancy BMI was 24.1 (4.1) kg/m2. Decline in newborn telomere length occurred in parallel with higher maternal pre-pregnancy BMI. Independent of maternal and paternal age at birth, maternal education, gestational age, newborn gender, ethnicity, birthweight, maternal smoking status, parity, cesarean section, and pregnancy complications, each kg/m2 increase in pre-pregnancy BMI was associated with a -0.50 % (95 % CI, -0.83 to -0.17 %; P = 0.003) shorter cord blood telomere length and a -0.66 % (95 % CI, -1.06 to -0.25 %; P = 0.002) shorter placental telomere length. Conclusions: Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI is associated with shorter newborn telomere lengths as reflected by cord blood and placental telomeres. These findings support the benefits of a pre-pregnancy healthy weight for promoting molecular longevity from early life onwards. © 2016 The Author(s).


PubMed | Laboratory of Environmental Epigenetics, East Limburg Hospital and Hasselt University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of translational medicine | Year: 2017

Maternal smoking during pregnancy results in an increased risk of low birth weight through perturbations in the utero-placental exchange. Epigenetics and mitochondrial function in fetal tissues might be molecular signatures responsive to in utero tobacco smoke exposure.In the framework of the ENVIRONAGE birth cohort, we investigated the effect of self-reported tobacco smoke exposure during pregnancy on birth weight and the relation with placental tissue markers such as, (1) relative mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content as determined by real-time quantitative PCR, (2) DNA methylation of specific loci of mtDNA (D-loop and MT-RNR1), and (3) DNA methylation of the biotransformation gene CYP1A1 (the last two determined by bisulfite-pyrosequencing). The total pregnant mother sample included 255 non-smokers, 65 former-smokers who had quit smoking before pregnancy, and 62 smokers who continued smoking during pregnancy.Smokers delivered newborns with a birth weight on average 208g lower [95% confidence interval (CI) -318 to -99, p=0.0002] than mothers who did not smoke during pregnancy. In the smoker group, the relative mtDNA content was lower (-21.6%, 95% CI -35.4 to -4.9%, p=0.01) than in the non-smoker group; whereas, absolute mtDNA methylation levels ofMT-RNR1were higher (+0.62%, 95% CI 0.21 to 1.02%, p=0.003). Lower CpG-specific methylation of CYP1A1 in placental tissue (-4.57%, 95% CI -7.15 to -1.98%, p<0.0001) were observed in smokers compared with non-smokers. Nevertheless, no mediation of CYP1A1 methylation nor any other investigated molecular signature was observed for the association between tobacco smoke exposure and birth weight.mtDNA content, methylation of specific loci of mtDNA, and CYP1A1 methylation in placental tissue may serve as molecular signatures for the association between gestational tobacco smoke exposure and low birth weight.

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