Effects of prenatal exposure to endocrine disruptors and toxic metals on the fetal epigenome.
Epigenomics. 2017 03 ;9(3):333-350. Epub 2017 Feb 17. PMID: 28234024
Paige A Bommarito
Exposure to environmental contaminants during pregnancy has been linked to adverse outcomes at birth and later in life. The link between prenatal exposures and latent health outcomes suggests that these exposures may result in long-term epigenetic reprogramming. Toxic metals and endocrine disruptors are two major classes of contaminants that are ubiquitously present in the environment and represent threats to human health. In this review, we present evidence that prenatal exposures to these contaminants result in fetal epigenomic changes, including altered global DNA methylation, gene-specific CpG methylation and microRNA expression. Importantly, these changes may have functional cellular consequences, impacting health outcomes later in life. Therefore, these epigenetic changes represent a critical mechanism that warrants further study.