Maternal polychlorinated biphenyl 126 (PCB 126) exposure modulates offspring gut microbiota irrespective of diet and exercise

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Reproductive toxicology (Elmsford, N.Y.)


The gut microbiota plays an important role throughout the lifespan in maintaining host health, and several factors can modulate microbiota composition including diet, exercise, and environmental exposures. Maternal microbiota is transferred to offspring during early life; thus, environmental exposures before gestation may also modulate offspring microbiota. Here we aimed to investigate the effects of maternal exposure to dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on the microbiota of aged offspring and to determine if lifestyle factors, including maternal exercise or offspring high-fat feeding alter these associations. To test this, dams were exposed to PCB 126 (0.5 μmole/kg body weight) or vehicle oil by oral gavage during preconception, gestation, and during lactation. Half of each group was allowed access to running wheels for ≥ 7 days before and during pregnancy and up through day 14 of lactation. Female offspring born from the 4 maternal groups (PCB exposure or not, with/without exercise) were subsequently placed either on regular diet or switched to a high-fat diet during adulthood. Microbiota composition was quantified in female offspring at 49 weeks of age by 16 S rRNA sequencing. Maternal exposure to PCB 126 resulted in significantly reduced richness and diversity in offspring microbiota regardless of diet or exercise. Overall compositional differences were largely driven by offspring diet, but alterations in specific taxa due to maternal PCB 126 exposure, included the depletion of Verrucomicrobiaceae and Akkermansia muciniphila, and an increase in Anaeroplasma. Perturbation of microbiota due to PCB 126 may predispose offspring to a variety of chronic diseases later in adulthood.

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Pregnancy; Female; Humans; Aged; Polychlorinated Biphenyls; Maternal Exposure; Gastrointestinal Microbiome; Diet, High-Fat; Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects

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