Gestational exposure to particulate air pollution exacerbates the growth phenotypes induced by preconception paternal alcohol use: a multiplex model of exposure. Academic Article uri icon


  • It is now clear that parental histories of drug use, toxicant exposure, and social stress all have a significant influence on the health and development of the next generation. However, the ability of epigenetic parental life memories to interact with subsequent gestational exposures and cumulatively modify the developmental trajectory of the offspring remains an unexplored perspective in toxicology. Studies from our laboratory have identified male-specific postnatal growth restriction in a mouse model of chronic, preconception paternal alcohol exposure. The goal of the current study was to determine if paternal alcohol use, before conception, could modify the susceptibility of the offspring to a completely separate exposure encountered by the mother during pregnancy. In independent experiments, we previously identified altered developmental programming and increased markers of severe asthma induced by gestational exposure to particulate air pollution. In this study, male mice were exposed to either the control or alcohol preconception treatments, then mated to naive females, which we subsequently exposed to an ultrafine mixture of particulate matter via inhalation. Individually, neither preconception paternal drinking nor gestational exposures to particulate air pollution impacted the postnatal growth of female offspring. However, when both exposures were combined, females displayed a 30% reduction in weight gain. Unexpectedly, this exposure paradigm resulted in a dramatic postnatal increase in litter loss due to maternal cannibalism, which prevented additional measures of offspring health. These preliminary studies provide evidence of a complex interplay between preconception life history and intrauterine environmental factors in the control of postnatal growth.

published proceedings

  • Environ Epigenet

altmetric score

  • 9.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Mustapha, T. A., Chang, R. C., Garcia-Rhodes, D., Pendleton, D., Johnson, N. M., & Golding, M. C.

citation count

  • 5

editor list (cited editors)

  • McCarrey, J.

publication date

  • January 2020