Environmentally Induced Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Reproductive Disease.
Biol Reprod. 2015 Oct 28. Epub 2015 Oct 28. PMID: 26510870
Eric E Nilsson
Reproductive disease and fertility issues have dramatically increased in the human population over the last several decades suggesting environmental impacts. Epigenetics provides a mechanistic link by which an organism can respond to environmental factors. Interestingly, environmentally induced epigenetic alterations in the germline can promote aberrant gene expression and disease generationally. Environmentally induced epigenetic transgenerational inheritance is defined as germline transmission of altered epigenetic information between generations in the absence of continued environmental exposures. This form of non-genetic inheritance has been shown to directly influence fertility and reproductive disease. This review describes the studies in a variety of species which impact reproductive disease and abnormalities. Observations suggest serious attention be paid to the possibility that ancestral exposures to environmental insults promotes transgenerational inheritance of reproductive disease susceptibility. Environmentally induced epigenetic transgenerational inheritance appears to be an important contributing factor to reproductive disease in many organisms, including humans.