The importance of limiting current exposure to toxins was once again re-inforced by this study demonstrating that these toxins can cause health problems in our great grandchildren. Someone who smokes must consider that this is not just a personal choice, but one that will have an affect on their children, grandchildren, and possibly further generations. As each generation becomes exposed to more and more toxins, the effect will mostly likely become magnified - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120503194213.htm
Washington State University researchers have found that ovarian disease can result from exposures to a wide range of environmental chemicals and be inherited by future generations.
WSU reproductive biologist Michael Skinner and his laboratory colleagues, including Eric Nilsson and Carlos Guerrero-Bosagna, looked at how fungicide, pesticide, plastic, dioxin and hydrocarbon mixtures affected a gestating rat's progeny for multiple generations. They saw subsequent generations inherit ovarian disease by "epigenetic transgenerational inheritance."
Epigenetics regulates how genes are turned on and off in tissues and cells. Three generations were affected, showing fewer ovarian follicles -- the source of eggs -- and increased polycystic ovarian disease.
"What your great grandmother was exposed to when she was pregnant may promote ovarian disease in you, and you're going to pass it on to your grandchildren," he said. "Ovarian disease has been increasing over the past few decades to affect more than 10 percent of the human female population, and environmental epigenetics may provide a reason for this increase."
The research appears in the current issue of the online journal PLoS ONE. It marks the first time researchers have shown that a number of different classes of environmental toxicants can promote the epigenetic inheritance of ovarian disease across multiple generations.
Research by Skinner and colleagues published earlier this year in PLoS ONE showed jet fuel, dioxin, plastics and the pesticides DEET and permethrin can promote epigenetic inheritance of disease in young adults across generations.
The new study, Skinner said, provides a proof of concept that ancestral environmental exposures and environmental epigenetics promote ovarian disease and can be used to further diagnose exposure to toxicants and their subsequent health impacts. It also opens the door to using epigenetic molecular markers to diagnose ovarian disease before it occurs so new therapies could be developed.
In a broader sense, the study shows how epigenetics can have a significant role in disease development and life itself.
Funding for the study was provided by the U.S. Department of Defense's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center and the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
The original abstract here...
The actions of environmental toxicants and relevant mixtures in promoting the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of ovarian disease was investigated with the use of a fungicide, a pesticide mixture, a plastic mixture, dioxin and a hydrocarbon mixture. After transient exposure...Epigenetic biomarkers for environmental exposure and associated gene networks were identified. Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of ovarian disease states was induced by all the different classes of environmental compounds, suggesting a role of environmental epigenetics in ovarian disease etiology.