2017 Progress Report: Characterizing Exposures and Outcomes in an Urban Birth Cohort (CHERUB)

EPA Grant Number: R836153C001
Subproject: this is subproject number 001 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R836153
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Center for Children’s Health, the Environment, Microbiome, and Metabolomics’ Center
Center Director: McCauley, Linda
Title: Characterizing Exposures and Outcomes in an Urban Birth Cohort (CHERUB)
Investigators: Barr, Dana Boyd , Dunlop, Anne , Ryan, P. Barry
Institution: Emory University
EPA Project Officer: Louie, Nica
Project Period: September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2019
Project Period Covered by this Report: September 1, 2016 through August 31,2017
RFA: Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Health , Children's Health

Objective:

Aim 1: Characterize pre- and postnatal environmental exposures of African American (AA) mother-infant pairs in metropolitan Atlanta.

Aim 2: Investigate the independent and interactive effects of prenatal chemical exposures upon the composition of the maternal microbiome for pregnant AA women in metropolitan Atlanta.

 Aim 3: Investigate the independent and interactive effects of prenatal chemical exposures upon birth outcomes for pregnant AA women in metropolitan Atlanta.

Progress Summary:

 During Year 2, we have accomplished the following, consistent with our original timeline:

1) Develop protocols, Data Collection Methods: We have continued to implement all protocols and procedures for the recruitment and consent of subjects, the collection of data and specimens (questionnaire items, biological and household samples), and the handling, processing, and analysis of specimens that were developed and refined by the P1 Team during Year 1. Specifically, this accomplishment involved: maintaining Emory Institutional Review Board approval for the P1 recruitment and data collection protocols; hiring and training additional field and laboratory staff to recruit subjects, and collect and analyze samples; utilizing data bases for participant and sample tracking as well as housing data; and maintaining training of field staff in the consent, data collection, data and sample handling and processing procedures. We hired a full-time field interviewer to assist in our home visit data collection which has significantly improved participation and accelerated our speed of home visit data collection.

2) Enrollment, Data Collection:

a. Prenatal: We have enrolled a total of 153 pregnant women into the P50 protocol, which includes 105 pregnant women enrolled thus far during Year 2 and the 48 pregnant enrolled during the previous grant year (Year 1). Among the 153 enrolled pregnant women, the following completed the planned sample collections during the initial prenatal clinic visit (between 8-14 weeks’ gestation): 153 completed microbiome swab collections, 148 completed venous blood collection, and 148 completed urine sample collection. Of the 153 enrolled pregnant women, 111 have entered the 20-30 week gestational age window for the home environmental assessment, with 70 women (63%) consenting to participate in the home assessments, 108 have passed through the gestational age window for the home environmental assessment, with 70 consenting to participate in the home assessment (65%) and with completing the home environmental assessment and 21 (19%) remaining in the gestational age window for the home environmental assessments. We are actively reaching out to the remaining 21 in the gestational age window for the home environmental assessments to schedule those home visits, and we are continuing to recruit and enroll into the Parent Study and P1. All biological and environmental specimens from enrolled subjects has been processed and entered into a long-term biorepository created for this project. We have maintained participant tracking in a Microsoft Access database and participant survey and assay data in a RedCap database. In addition, we are currently implementing a laboratory information management system (LIMS) for biospecimen tracking and long-term laboratory data processing and storage of laboratory metadata.

b. Postnatal: Consistent with our developed protocols and procedures, we also initiated recruitment of birthed infants into P1 in December, 2015. To date, we have collected the following number of urine samples from diapers at the various post-birth time points: 49 samples at 1-week, 40 samples at 3-months, 27 samples at 6-months, and 8 samples at 12-months.

3) Exposure and Outcome Characterization:

a. Environmental Toxicants:

i. We performed pilot testing of our laboratory methods for analysis of serum toxicants using serum samples collected from women in the same Parent Study Cohort, under a pilot funding award: Serum samples from the first 184 pregnant African American women enrolled in the Prenatal Microbiome Study were analyzed in the Health and Exposome Research Center: Understanding Lifetime Exposures (HERCULES) Analytic Chemistry Core Lab (the Laboratory for Exposure Assessment and Development in Environmental Research (LEADER) directed by Drs. Barr and Ryan) with funds from a HERCULES pilot award made to a junior faculty mentored by PIs Dunlop and Corwin. This chemical toxicant analysis involves a solvent extraction and cleanup with analysis by gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry

ii. In addition, we have performed quantification of urine phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) among 56 enrolled pregnant women, finding that our population has higher levels of a metabolite of diethylphthalate than does the US population as a whole and US non-Hispanic Black population. Our populations BPA levels are higher than the US population levels as well. We are continuing phthalate and BPA analysis in the remainder of the samples we have at collected at present and anticipate their completion in May 2017.

iii. We are currently measuring urinary metals, pesticides and markers of tobacco use (cotinine, NNAL) in samples collected as a part of Project 1 and anticipate their completion this summer. b. Microbiome: i. We have transferred the microbiome swab samples collected on enrolled women to the Emory Integrated Genomics Core for DNA extraction and 16S rRNA gene sequencing and have worked with bioinformaticists at Emory to establish the bioinformatics pipelines for processing our sequencing data.

c. Pregnancy Outcomes: We have ascertained pregnancy outcomes (via maternal and infant medical record abstraction) for the 64 enrolled pregnant women who have reached their pregnancy due date, with the following birth outcomes noted: 8 spontaneous abortions; 10 preterm births; 20 early term births; 26 full term births. Microbiome samples from women enrolled in the P50 to date and had the opportunity to complete both microbiome sample collection time points (8-14 weeks’ and 24-30 weeks’ gestation) were transported to the Emory Integrated Genomics Laboratory for DNA extraction and sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to characterize the microbial communities present.

Future Activities:

During the next reporting period, we will carry out the activities designated in our Timeline for Year 3. Specifically, together with our trained staff and established protocols, we will continue to recruit and enroll pregnant women and birthed infants into P1, collect relevant data and specimens to allow us to characterize environmental toxicant exposures, and continue to analyze data and samples to allow us to characterize environmental exposures in the population of interest and discern the relationship between environmental exposures, the microbiome, and adverse pregnancy and neurodevelopmental outcomes. In addition, we will continue to engage with the Stakeholder Advisory Board to solicit their input into how we should disseminate findings to the African American community and clinical and public health care providers for this community.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 6 publications for this subproject

Supplemental Keywords:

Chemical exposure, early life exposure, environmental exposure, infant development

Relevant Websites:

Center for Children’s Health, the Environment, the Microbiome, and Metabolomics Exit

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 2016 Progress Report
  • 2018

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R836153    Center for Children’s Health, the Environment, Microbiome, and Metabolomics’ Center

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R836153C001 Characterizing Exposures and Outcomes in an Urban Birth Cohort (CHERUB)
    R836153C002 Microbiome, Environment, and Neurodevelopmental Delay (MEND)
    R836153C003 Metabolic, Microbiome and Toxicant-Related Interactions (MATRIX)