Prenatal polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, adiposity, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) γ methylation in offspring, grand-offspring mice

Zhonghai Yan, Hanjie Zhang, Christina Maher, Emilio Arteaga-Solis, Frances A. Champagne, Licheng Wu, Jacob D. McDonald, Beizhan Yan, Gary J. Schwartz, Rachel L. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations


Rationale: Greater levels of prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) have been associated with childhood obesity in epidemiological studies. However, the underlying mechanisms are unclear.

Objectives: We hypothesized that prenatal PAH over-exposure during gestation would lead to weight gain and increased fat mass in offspring and grand-offspring mice. Further, we hypothesized that altered adipose gene expression and DNA methylation in genes important to adipocyte differentiation would be affected.

Materials and Methods: Pregnant dams were exposed to a nebulized PAH mixture versus negative control aerosol 5 days a week, for 3 weeks. Body weight was recorded from postnatal day (PND) 21 through PND60. Body composition, adipose cell size, gene expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)γ, CCAAT/enhancer-binding proteins (C/EBP)α, cyclooxygenase (Cox)-2, fatty acid synthase (FAS) and adiponectin, and DNA methylation of PPAR γ, were assayed in both the offspring and grand-offspring adipose tissue.

Findings: Offspring of dams exposed to greater PAH during gestation had increased weight, fat mass, as well as higher gene expression of PPAR γ, C/EBP α, Cox2, FAS and adiponectin and lower DNA methylation of PPAR γ. Similar differences in phenotype and DNA methylation extended through the grand-offspring mice.

Conclusions: Greater prenatal PAH exposure was associated with increased weight, fat mass, adipose gene expression and epigenetic changes in progeny.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere110706
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 27 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

Cite this