Project: “Defining Environmental Factors Influencing and Affecting Neonatal Cardiac health through Epigenome profiling”

Acronym DEFIANCE (Reference Number: JTC-2019_054)
Duration 01/05/2020 - 30/04/2023
Project Topic Congenital heart defects (CHD) are one of the leading causes for foetal and infant deaths worldwide. Apart from genetic factors, also nongenetic factors contribute to CHD. Studies have shown that factors such as maternal smoking, obesity and increased maternal age, maternal diabetes is also associated with an increased risk of having a child with CHD, though the underlying mechanism is still not fully understood. Therefore our aim is to gain a better understanding of the processes involved in the development of CHD due to high blood glucose during pregnancy. We assume that epigenetic changes ,which modify the DNA and alter gene expression, play an important role in the development of CHD. For this reason, we will induce diabetes in female mice and examine the embryonic murine hearts of the pups by single cell sequencing and DNA methylation profiling. These results will be compared to the DNA methylation pattern and single cell transcriptome data of the cardiac tissue and blood of children with a CHD, whose mothers suffered from diabetes during their pregnancy. Our results will enable a better risk prediction and might reveal new therapeutic targets for therapy and prevention, and may enble the development of a diagnostic tool based on methylation pattern in the blood to identify environmental factors contributing to CHD.
Network ERA-CVD
Call ERA-CVD Joint Transnational Call 2019

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 KU Leuven Coordinator Belgium
2 INSERM Partner France
3 UKSH Partner Germany