Transgenerational epigenetic actions of environmental compounds
Anim Reprod, vol.7, n3, p.165-165, 2010
Endocrine disrupting chemicals are known for their capacity to alter development and reproduction in mammals. One of the periods most sensitive to endocrine disruptor exposure is embryonic gonadal sex determination, when the germ line is undergoing epigenetic programming and DNA re-methylation. Epigenetic changes derived from exposure to endocrine disruptors have been described in several tissues and organisms. Endocrine disruptor induced epigenetic changes may have a wide range of phenotypic consequences, leading to disease conditions such as cancers, reproductive defects and obesity. Interestingly, the incidence of some diseases resulting from exposure to endocrine disruptors can be transgenerationally transmitted. In particular, exposure to the endocrine disruptor vinclozolin during early development is capable of inducing adult onset disease states that can be perpetuated across multiple generations. Environmental compounds such as endocrine disruptors can produce changes in the genome without altering DNA sequence. These changes are epigenetic in basis and can produce phenotypes that perpetuate transgenerationally. The suggestion that environmental factors can reprogram early development to induce epigenetic transgenerational phenotypes is a new paradigm in biology that will open new avenues for studies in disease etiology, reproduction and evolutionary biology.
DNA methylation, endocrine disruptors, epigenetics, germline, inheritance, transgenerational