Prenatal Exposure to EDCs and Obesity

By the Collaborative on Health and the Environment

The incidence of childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally and there is an urgent need to better understand the impact of early life exposure to chemical obesogens on the development of obesity.

The incidence of childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally and there is an urgent need to better understand the impact of early life exposure to chemical obesogens on the development of obesity. The European OBELIX (Obesogenic endocrine disrupting chemicals: linking prenatal exposure to the development of obesity later in life) project examined the hypothesis that prenatal exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) plays a role in the development of obesity later in life using a multidisciplinary approach that combined various approaches, including epidemiology and toxicology.

The project focused on assessing prenatal exposure to major classes of EDCs including dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls, non-dioxin-like PCBs, brominated flame retardants, organochlorine pesticides, phthalates, and perfluorinated alkyl acids. Toxicological studies in OBELIX demonstrated that perinatal dietary exposure to representatives of these EDC classes resulted in metabolic changes that persisted into adulthood, long after termination of exposure at weaning, and that effects were compound- and sex-specific. The observed effects were not consistently towards an obese phenotype; a lean phenotype was also observed in animal studies for some compounds. Epidemiological studies in birth cohorts throughout Europe indicated associations between pre- and postnatal exposure to EDCs and early growth trajectories and body mass index in children up to 7 years.

This call reviewed the main findings of the largest project up to now to examine the obesogen hypothesis.

Sources:

Additional resources of interest:
  • The OBELIX project website.
  • The OBELIX project: early life exposure to endocrine disruptors and obesity, PDF, 2011 May 4.
  • An Integrated Approach to Assess the Role of Chemical Exposure in ObesityPDF, 26 JUL 2013.
  • Birth Weight and Prenatal Exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE): A Meta-analysis within 12 European Birth Cohorts, PDF, Oct 13, 2011.
  • Transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms underlying enhanced in vitro adipocyte differentiation by the brominated flame retardant BDE-47, PDF2014 Apr 1.
  • Programming of metabolic effects in C57BL/6JxFVB mice by exposure to bisphenol A during gestation and lactation, PDF, 3 July 2014.

Author: DES Daughter

Activist, blogger and social media addict committed to shedding light on a global health scandal and dedicated to raise DES awareness.

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