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We have previously described diminished uterine progesterone response and increased uterine sensitivity to inflammation in adult female mice with a history of developmental exposure to TCDD (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin). Since parturition in mammals is an inflammatory process mediated in part by a decline in progesterone action, toxicant-mediated disruption of progesterone receptor (PR) expression at the maternal-fetal interface would likely impact the timing of birth. Therefore, in the current study, we examined pregnancy outcomes in adult female mice with a similar in utero exposure to TCDD. We also examined the impact of in utero TCDD exposure of male mice on pregnancy outcomes in unexposed females since the placenta, a largely paternally derived organ, plays a major role in the timing of normal parturition via inflammatory signaling. Our studies indicate that developmental exposure of either parent to TCDD is associated with preterm birth in a subsequent adult pregnancy due to altered PR expression and placental inflammation.
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