PhD Student, Karolinska Institute
I am looking at different environmental chemicals that may affect the fertility of females. It is a combination of epidemiology and experimental biology. I will determine which chemicals are associated to time-to-pregnancy in a pregnancy cohort and to live birth outcomes in an in vitro fertilization cohort. To provide a more causal link, I will elucidate the mechanism of action on the ovarian follicles by exposing these follicles to these chemicals and studying the effects on ovarian functions such as steroidogenesis and oogenesis.
Abstract: Exposure of female fetuses to environmental chemicals (ECs) during pregnancy results in a disturbed ovarian adult phenotype. We investigated the influence of pre- and/or post-conception exposure to low-level mixtures of ECs on the structure and function of the fetal ovine ovary. We examined ovarian morphology, expression of oocyte and granulosa cell-specific genes and proteome. Female fetuses were collected at day 110 of gestation, from dams exposed continuously until, and after mating, by grazing in pastures treated with sewage sludge as a fertiliser (TT) or in control fields treated with inorganic fertiliser (CC). In addition, in a cross-over design, fetal ovaries were collected from dams maintained on sludge pastures up to the time of mating but then transferred to control pastures (TC) and, reciprocally, those transferred from control to treated pastures at mating (CT). On examination, the proportion of type 1a follicles (activating primordial follicles) was significantly lower in animals from the CT groups compared with CC and TT groups (P<0.05). Of the 23 ovarian gene transcripts studied, 14 were altered in the ovaries of exposed fetuses (CT, TC, and TT) relative to controls, with the largest number of changes observed in cross-exposure pattern groups (CT or TC). Continuous EC exposure (TT) produced fewer transcript alterations and only two genes (INHBA and GSN) presented differential profiles between CC and TT. Fetal ovarian proteome analysis (2-DE gels) showed, across all exposure groups, 86 differentially expressed protein spots compared to controls. Animals in the CT group exhibited the highest number (53) while TC and TT presented the same number of affected protein spots (42). Fetal ovarian proteins with altered expression included MVP (major vault protein) and several members of the heat-shock family (HSPA4L, HSP90AA1 and HSF1). The present findings indicate that continuous maternal EC exposure before and during gestation, are less deleterious for fetal ovarian development than a change in maternal EC exposure between pre and post-conception. The pathways by which the ovary responds to this chemical stress were common in TT, CT, TC exposed foetuses. In addition to the period of pregnancy, the pre-conception period appears also as crucial for conditioning long-term effects of EC exposure on ovarian development and primordial follicle reserve and hence future fertility.
Pub.: 25 Jun '13, Pinned: 18 Sep '17
Abstract: The development of fetal ovarian follicles is a critical determinant of adult female reproductive competence. Prolonged exposure to environmental chemicals (ECs) can perturb this process with detrimental consequences for offspring. Here we report on the exposure of pregnant ewes to an environmental mixture of ECs derived from pastures fertilized with sewage sludge (biosolids): a common global agricultural practice. Exposure of pregnant ewes to ECs over 80 day periods during early, mid or late gestation reduced the proportion of healthy early stage fetal follicles comprising the ovarian reserve. Mid and late gestation EC exposures had the most marked effects, disturbing maternal and fetal liver chemical profiles, masculinising fetal anogenital distance and greatly increasing the number of altered fetal ovarian genes and proteins. In conclusion, differential temporal sensitivity of the fetus and its ovaries to EC mixtures has implications for adult ovarian function following adverse exposures during pregnancy.
Pub.: 05 Mar '16, Pinned: 15 Sep '17
Abstract: Evidence is accumulating that environmental chemicals (ECs) including endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) can alter female reproductive development, fertility and onset of menopause. While not as clearly defined as in the male, this set of abnormalities may constitute an Ovarian Dysgenesis Syndrome with at least some origins of the syndrome arising during foetal development. ECs/EDCs have been shown to affect trophoblast and placental function, the female hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis, onset of puberty and adult ovarian function. The effects of ECs/EDCs are complex, not least because it is emerging that low-level, 'real-life' mixtures of ECs/EDCs may carry significant biological potency. In addition, there is evidence that ECs/EDCs can alter the epigenome in a sexually dimorphic manner, which may lead to changes in the germ line and perhaps even to transgenerational effects. This review summarises the evidence for EC, including EDC, involvement in female reproductive dysfunction, it highlights potential mechanisms of EC action in the female and emphasises the need for further research into EC effects on female development and reproductive function.
Pub.: 09 Nov '11, Pinned: 15 Sep '17
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