Pregnant women, and thus their fetuses, are exposed to many endocrine disruptor compounds (EDCs). Fetal cardiomyocytes express sex hormone receptors making them potentially susceptible to re-programming by estrogenizing EDCs.
Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a proto-typical, non-steroidal estrogen. We hypothesized that changes in adult cardiac structure/function after gestational exposure to the test compound DES would be a proof in principle for the possibility of estrogenizing environmental EDCs to also alter the fetal heart.
Vehicle (peanut oil) or DES (0.1, 1.0 and 10.0μg/kg/da.) was orally delivered to pregnant C57bl/6n dams on gestation days 11.5-14.5. At 3 months, male progeny were left sedentary or were swim trained for 4 weeks. Echocardiography of isoflurane anesthetized mice revealed similar cardiac structure/function in all sedentary mice, but evidence of systolic dysfunction and increased diastolic relaxation after swim training at higher DES doses. The calcium homeostasis proteins, SERCA2a, phospholamban, phospho-serine 16 phospholamban and calsequestrin 2, are important for cardiac contraction and relaxation. Immunoblot analyses of ventricle homogenates showed increased expression of SERCA2a and calsequestrin 2 in DES mice and greater molecular remodeling of these proteins and phospho-serine 16 phospholamban in swim trained DES mice. DES increased cardiac DNA methyltransferase 3a expression and DNA methylation in the CpG island within the calsequestrin 2 promoter in heart.
Gestational exposure to diethylstilbestrol alters cardiac structure/function, protein expression and DNA methylation in adult male mice progeny, article/pii/S0041008X12004607, 1 January 2013.
Thus, gestational DES epigenetically altered ventricular DNA, altered cardiac function and expression, and reduced the ability of adult progeny to cardiac remodel when physically challenged.
We conclude that gestational exposure to estrogenizing EDCs may impact cardiac structure/function in adult males.
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