Wayne State University study: Lead exposure in mothers can affect future generations

4 Oct

The increased rate of poverty has profound implications if this society believes that ALL children have the right to a good basic education. Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Because children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family. There is a lot of economic stress in the country now because of unemployment and underemployment. Children feel the stress of their parents and they worry about how stable their family and living situation is. Sabrina Tavernise wrote an excellent New York Times article, Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/education/education-gap-grows-between-rich-and-poor-studies-show.html?emc=eta1 The Centers for Disease Control report:

Today at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead. There are approximately half a million U.S. children ages 1-5 with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), the reference level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated.
No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized. CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is committed to the Healthy People 2020 goals of eliminating blood lead levels ≥ 10 µg/dL and differences in average risk based on race and social class as public health concerns. The program is part of the National Center for Environmental Health’s Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services. http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/

A Wayne State University study finds that lead exposure may affect more than one generation.

Science Daily reported in Lead exposure in mothers can affect future generations:

A team of researchers at Wayne State University have discovered that mothers with high levels of lead in their blood not only affect the fetal cells of their unborn children, but also their grandchildren. Their study, Multigenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans: DNA methylation changes associated with maternal exposure to lead can be transmitted to the grandchildren, was published online this week in Scientific Reports.

It’s a known fact that babies in the womb can be affected by low levels of lead exposure. If a pregnant woman is exposed to lead, the lead passes through the placenta into the baby’s developing bones and other organs. Pregnant women with a past exposure to lead can also affect the unborn child’s brain, causing developmental problems later in life. Previous research studies have suggested that exposure to heavy metal toxicants can influence a person’s global DNA methylation profile….

According to Ruden, epigenetic effects of environmental exposures beyond one generation have not yet been demonstrated in humans prior to this study. He and his team tested the hypothesis that human fetal germ cell exposure to environmental toxins causes epigenetic changes in the newborn blood from a grandchild of an exposed pregnant woman.
“Our results suggest that lead exposure during pregnancy affects the DNA methylation status of the fetal germ cells, which leads to altered DNA methylation in grandchildren’s neonatal dried blood spots,” said Ruden. “This is the first demonstration that an environmental exposure in pregnant mothers can have an epigenetic effect on the DNA methylation pattern in the grandchildren.”

The research team stated that this novel, two-generational study design might be able to identify the genes that may serve as possible candidate biomarkers for future transgenerational risk assessment studies…. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151002191739.htm?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

Citation:

Lead exposure in mothers can affect future generations
Date: October 2, 2015

Source: Wayne State University – Office of the Vice President for Research

Summary:
Researchers have discovered that mothers with high levels of lead in their blood not only affect the fetal cells of their unborn children, but also their grandchildren.
Journal Reference:
1. Arko Sen, Nicole Heredia, Marie-Claude Senut, Susan Land, Kurt Hollocher, Xiangyi Lu, Mary O. Dereski, Douglas M. Ruden. Multigenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans: DNA methylation changes associated with maternal exposure to lead can be transmitted to the grandchildren. Scientific Reports, 2015; 5: 14466 DOI: 10.1038/srep14466

Here is the press release from Wayne State University:

Wayne State researchers discover evidence that lead exposure in mothers can affect future generations
October 2, 2015

DETROIT – A team of researchers at Wayne State University have discovered that mothers with high levels of lead in their blood not only affect the fetal cells of their unborn children, but also their grandchildren. Their study, Multigenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans: DNA methylation changes associated with maternal exposure to lead can be transmitted to the grandchildren, was published online this week in Scientific Reports.

It’s a known fact that babies in the womb can be affected by low levels of lead exposure. If a pregnant woman is exposed to lead, the lead passes through the placenta into the baby’s developing bones and other organs. Pregnant women with a past exposure to lead can also affect the unborn child’s brain, causing developmental problems later in life. Previous research studies have suggested that exposure to heavy metal toxicants can influence a person’s global DNA methylation profile.
In the recent Wayne State study led by Douglas Ruden, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, director of epigenomics, and program leader in the Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors, he and his research team revealed that lead exposure can cause specific changes in DNA methylation, which can be detected in dried blood spots beyond one generation. The neonatal blood spots from both the mothers and children in this study were obtained from the Michigan Neonatal Biobank, a unique resource that has most of the neonatal dried blood spots from children born in Michigan since 1984.

According to Ruden, epigenetic effects of environmental exposures beyond one generation have not yet been demonstrated in humans prior to this study. He and his team tested the hypothesis that human fetal germ cell exposure to environmental toxins causes epigenetic changes in the newborn blood from a grandchild of an exposed pregnant woman.
“Our results suggest that lead exposure during pregnancy affects the DNA methylation status of the fetal germ cells, which leads to altered DNA methylation in grandchildren’s neonatal dried blood spots,” said Ruden. “This is the first demonstration that an environmental exposure in pregnant mothers can have an epigenetic effect on the DNA methylation pattern in the grandchildren.”

The research team stated that this novel, two-generational study design might be able to identify the genes that may serve as possible candidate biomarkers for future transgenerational risk assessment studies.
“Our pilot study provides indirect evidence that lead exposure in women during childbirth can affect the locus-specific DNA methylation status of grandchildren,” said Ruden. “However, the altered DNA methylation profiles of the grandchildren’s blood are apparently normalized during postnatal development. Also, fetal germline exposure to lead apparently has different epigenetic consequences than acute childhood exposure.”

This research was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (R01 ES012933 and R21 ES021893) to Dr. Ruden, the WSU-NIEHS Center (P30 ES020957), and a Michigan Bloodspot Environmental Epidemiology Project (BLEEP) pilot grant from the Michigan University Research Corridor to Dr. Ruden.

Contact: Julie O’Connor
Voice: (313) 577-8845
Email: julie.oconnor@wayne.edu
Fax: (313) 577-3626
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Michael Hawthorne of the Chicago Tribune wrote about lead poisoning.

In Lead poisoning still damaging kids in poor areas, Hawthorne wrote:

One researcher working in Chicago, Anne Evens, recently published a study that draws a sharper focus on how lead is still ravaging the city years after it faded as a local and national issue.
A former chief of lead poisoning prevention at the Chicago Department of Public Health, Evens obtained the lead tests of more than 58,000 children born in the city from 1994 to 1998 and compared the results with how they performed on standardized tests in third grade.

Her peer-reviewed study, published in April in the scientific journal Environmental Health, found that exposure to lead during early childhood significantly increased the chance that a student would fail reading and math tests, even when controlling for other factors such as poverty, race, birth weight and the mother’s education level.
The scope of what Evens found is staggering: At three-quarters of Chicago Public Schools, the average lead level of third-graders exceeded a standard established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in each year from 2003 to 2006….. http://www.abqjournal.com/598520/news/lead-poisoning-still-damaging-kids-in-poor-areas.html

A 2002 Journal of Public Health article, Housing and Health: Time Again for Public Health Action:

Poor housing conditions are associated with a wide range of health conditions, including respiratory infections, asthma, lead poisoning, injuries, and mental health. Addressing housing issues offers public health practitioners an opportunity to address an important social determinant of health. Public health has long been involved in housing issues. In the 19th century, health officials targeted poor sanitation, crowding, and inadequate ventilation to reduce infectious diseases as well as fire hazards to decrease injuries. Today, public health departments can employ multiple strategies to improve housing, such as developing and enforcing housing guidelines and codes, implementing “Healthy Homes” programs to improve indoor environmental quality, assessing housing conditions, and advocating for healthy, affordable housing. Now is the time for public health to create healthier homes by confronting substandard housing…. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447157/

Substandard housing has been identified as a cause of health issues for decades. The issue is what can or will be done to address the issue.

Related:

Unequal exposures: People in poor, non-white neighborhoods breathe more hazardous particles http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2012/unequal-exposures

Lead Poisoning                                                                                                                                              http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/explore/pollute/lead.htm

Learn about Lead                                                                                                                                                  http://www2.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead

Poor Neighborhoods’ Influence On Parents May Raise Preschool Children’s Risk Of Problems                                http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080207085613.htm

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