Editor's Choice for January 2017

The January 2017 Editor's Choice article is "Developmental Programming: Interaction Between Prenatal BPA and Postnatal Overfeeding on Cardiac Tissue Gene Expression in Female Sheep" by L.A. Koneva, A.K. Vyas, R.C. McEachin, M. Puttabyatappa, H.S. Wang, M.A. Sartor, and V. Padmanabhan.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD)-related death is one of the leading causes of mortality in developed countries. Intrauterine and early environmental exposures to endocrine disrupting chemicals are considered major contributors to the development of adult CVD. One of the most controversial endocrine disrupting chemicals is bisphenol A (BPA), a component of polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins used in the manufacture of many consumer products. BPA has been detected in mother’s blood, amniotic and placental fluids, breast milk, and the urine of neonates, indicating that exposure could occur during critical periods of fetal and child development. Available evidence from epidemiologic and animal studies suggests an association between the exposure to BPA during early periods of development and cardiometabolic diseases later in adulthood. Previously, Dr. Padmanabhan and colleagues found that prenatal BPA treatment blocked the increase in blood pressure and left ventricular (left chamber of heart responsible for pumping oxygenated blood to tissues all over the body) area caused by overfeeding female sheep. As a follow-up study, the authors explored the gene networks underlying these complex interactions in the myocardium (muscle tissue of heart). 

This study produced several important findings. Female sheep offspring born to pregnant sheep treated with BPA tended to have reduced birth weight. Significant changes in the myocardial gene expression were evident in the female sheep offspring born to pregnant sheep exposed to BPA, overfed after birth or a combination of the two. The most interesting findings are: 1) Intrauterine BPA exposure and overfeeding after birth affected genes from similar set of biological pathways although not always the same genes. 2) Instead of an amplification of disruptions from combined intrauterine BPA exposure and overfeeding after birth, intrauterine BPA exposure partially prevented the effects of overfeeding alone. 3) The authors identified AP-1, EGR1, and EGFR as key hubs affected by BPA and/or overfeeding in the gene network model.

Overall, this Editor’s Choice article reveals a complex relationship between intrauterine chemical exposure and postnatal diet, which alerts researchers to the possibility that interactions between exposures occurring during intrauterine life may be modulated by after birth exposures which result in very different consequences compared to either of the exposures alone.  Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 58:4–18, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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