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Your Environment. Your Health.

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Linked to Inflammatory Changes in Pregnancy

Vasantha Padmanabhan, Ph.D.
University of Michigan
R01ES017005, P01ES022844, P30ES017885, U2CES026553

Exposure to different endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) mixtures in early pregnancy is associated with distinct inflammatory changes in mother and child, according to an NIEHS-funded study. According to the authors, unique EDC mixtures may explain changes to immune cells during pregnancy, and those changes may be linked to lower infant birth weight and gestational age at delivery.

Previous studies, which often focused on single EDCs, observed associations between EDC exposure and fetal growth restriction or lower infant birth weight, but the results were mixed. So the team studied associations between individual EDCs and different EDC mixtures on markers of inflammation during pregnancy. In a Michigan-based birth cohort, they tested first trimester urine samples for 12 phthalates, 12 phenols, and 17 metals in 56 women. In the mother’s blood during the first trimester and at term, and in the placental cord blood after delivery, they also measured 12 cytokines that promote inflammation and are important cells in the immune system.

The researchers demonstrated differences in the association between individual EDCs and EDC mixtures and inflammatory markers, indicating that the combination of exposures was an important contributor to the outcome. They also measured several individual cytokines that were associated with gestational age and birth weight. According to the authors, these observed associations between EDC mixtures and inflammation during pregnancy may have clinical and public health implications for women of childbearing age.

Citation: Kelley AS, Banker M, Goodrich JM, Dolinoy DC, Burant C, Domino SE, Smith YR, Song PXK, Padmanabhan V. 2019. Early pregnancy exposure to endocrine disrupting chemical mixtures are associated with inflammatory changes in maternal and neonatal circulation. Sci Rep 9(1):5422.

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