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Parental tobacco smoke exposure: Epigenetics and the developmental origins of health and disease
Rogers, J. Parental tobacco smoke exposure: Epigenetics and the developmental origins of health and disease. PPTOX V, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, JAPAN, November 13 - 17, 2016.
This is an abstract for a proposed presentation at the Fifth Prenatal Programming and Toxicity Conference. The talk will discuss the effects of smoking and environmental tobacco smoke on reproductive and developmental processes, including epigenetic programming, and relate these effects to adverse effects on health throughout the life course in offspring of exposed parents.
Epigenetic programming is an important mechanism underlying the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD). Much of the research in this area has focused on maternal nutrition. Parental smoking has emerged as a prime example of how exposure to environmental toxicants during the preconceptional and in utero periods can have long-term effects on offspring health, and the role of the epigenome in these effects. Maternal smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke during pregnancy result in lower birth weight of offspring, and there is now clear evidence that these offspring are at elevated risk for overweight/obesity, type-2 diabetes, respiratory effects during adolescence and adulthood, and may be programmed for increased risk of nicotine addiction. Epigenetic analyses of placenta, cord blood and offspring buccal cells have consistently revealed altered DNA methylation of genes involved in developmental processes and xenobiotic metabolism, and these epigenetic changes are persistent. Animal studies with cigarette smoke and nicotine support these findings. Paternal preconceptional smoking has been positively related to childhood cancers, potentially linked to changes in the sperm epigenome. Germ cell specification and preimplantation development are periods of widespread erasure and reprogramming of DNA methylation, and as such are likely to be sensitive periods for environmental effects on the epigenome. Exposure to tobacco smoke during gametogenesis and in utero development has life-long effects on health that are mediated, at least In part, by changes to the epigenome. Epigenetic effects of exposure to environmental toxicants during reproduction and development are increasingly being elucidated and associated with long-term risks of adverse health outcomes, and research in this area is needed to understand the causal linkages between epigenetic effects and adverse outcomes.