Inheriting Chemical Diseases
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Researchers have lengthened their list of environmental toxicants that can have negative effects on as many as three generations of an exposed animal's offspring.
Scientists, led by molecular biologist Michael Skinner, documented reproductive disease and obesity in the descendants of rats exposed to the plasticizer bisephenol-A, or BPA, as well DEHP and DBP, plastic compounds known as phthalates.
The recent study found, “significant increases" in disease and abnormalities in the first and third generations of both male and female descendants of animals exposed to plastics. The first generation, whose mother had been directly exposed during gestation, had increased kidney and prostate diseases. The third generation had pubertal abnormalities, testis disease, ovarian disease, and obesity.
The study also identified nearly 200 epigenetic molecular markers for exposure and transgenerational disease. The markers could lead to the development of a diagnostic tool and new therapies.
The Reproductive Toxicology study exposed female rats to the hydrocarbon mixture as their fetuses' gonads were developing. The first generation of offspring had increased kidney and prostate abnormalities and ovarian disease. The third generation had increased losses of primordial follicles, the precursors to eggs, polycystic ovarian disease, and obesity.
Skinner was quoted as saying, “this study provides additional support for the possibility that environmental toxicants can promote the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease."
SOURCE: PLOS ONE, January, 2013