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TCDD (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, commonly known as dioxin) is a ubiquitous environmental contaminant and known endocrine disruptor. Using a mouse model, we previously found that adult female mice exposed in utero to TCDD (F1 generation) as well as multiple subsequent generations (F2-F4) exhibited reduced fertility and an increased incidence of spontaneous preterm birth. Additional studies revealed that male F1 mice with a similar in utero/developmental TCDD exposure also exhibited diminished fertility and conferred an increased risk of preterm birth to their unexposed mating partners. Herein, we extend these previous observations, reporting that reduced fertility in male F1 mice is linked to testicular inflammation which coincides with apoptosis of developing spermatocytes, sub-fertility and an increased risk of preterm birth in their unexposed mating partners. Significantly, in the absence of additional toxicant exposure, testicular inflammation and reduced fertility persisted in F2 and F3 males and their control mating partners also frequently exhibited spontaneous preterm birth. Although a steady, global decline in male fertility has been noted over the last few decades, the reasons for these changes have not been firmly established. Likewise, the PTB rate in the U.S. and other countries has paralleled industrial development, suggesting a possible relationship between environmental toxicant exposure and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Most current clinical strategies to prevent preterm birth are focused solely on the mother and have yielded limited benefits. In contrast, our studies strongly suggest that the preconception testicular health of the father is a critical determinant of pregnancy outcomes in mice. Future clinical studies should examine the potential contribution of the male to gestation length in women and whether efforts to reduce the incidence of preterm birth should be initiated in both parents prior to pregnancy.
We report that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-inducible CYP1B1 is targeted to mitochondria by sequence-specific cleavage at the N terminus by a cytosolic Ser protease (polyserase 1) to activate the cryptic internal signal. Site-directed mutagenesis, COS-7 cell transfection, and in vitro import studies in isolated mitochondria showed that a positively charged domain at residues 41-48 of human CYP1B1 is part of the mitochondrial (mt) import signal. Ala scanning mutations showed that the Ser protease cleavage site resides between residues 37 and 41 of human CYP1B1. Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) treatment induced oxidative stress, mitochondrial respiratory defects, and mtDNA damage that was attenuated by a CYP1B1-specific inhibitor, 2,3,4,5-tetramethoxystilbene. In support, the mitochondrial CYP1B1 supported by mitochondrial ferredoxin (adrenodoxin) and ferredoxin reductase showed high aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase activity. Administration of benzo[a]pyrene or 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin induced similar mitochondrial functional abnormalities and oxidative stress in the lungs of wild-type mice and Cyp1a1/1a2-null mice, but the effects were markedly blunted in Cyp1b1-null mice. These results confirm a role for CYP1B1 in inducing PAH-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction. The role of mitochondrial CYP1B1 was assessed using A549 lung epithelial cells stably expressing shRNA against NADPH-cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase or mitochondrial adrenodoxin. Our results not only show conservation of the endoprotease cleavage mechanism for mitochondrial import of family 1 CYPs but also reveal a direct role for mitochondrial CYP1B1 in PAH-mediated oxidative and chemical damage to mitochondria.
OBJECTIVE - To examine the differentiation-related expression of cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1-R) messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein in endometrial tissue obtained from women with and without endometriosis and to determine the impact of acute 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) exposure on CB1-R gene expression in isolated endometrial stromal cells.
DESIGN - Laboratory-based study.
SETTING - University-affiliated medical center.
PATIENT(S) - Women with and without endometriosis undergoing volunteer endometrial biopsies after informed consent.
INTERVENTION(S) - None.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S) - Analysis of in vivo CB1-R mRNA and protein expression in human endometrial tissues and mRNA expression in isolated stromal cells after exposure to TCDD or a progesterone receptor antagonist (onapristone).
RESULT(S) - Expression of CB1-R mRNA and protein was highest during the progesterone-dominated secretory phase in control samples, but expression was minimal in the endometrial tissues acquired from women with endometriosis, regardless of the cycle phase. Although progesterone was found to induce CB1-R mRNA expression in endometrial stromal cells from control donors, steroid-induced expression of this gene was inhibited by cotreatment with either TCDD or onapristone.
CONCLUSION(S) - Our studies reveal a role for the anti-inflammatory actions of progesterone in regulating endometrial cannabinoid signaling, which is disrupted in women with endometriosis. We demonstrate for the first time that acute TCDD exposure disrupts cannabinoid signaling in the human endometrium.
Copyright © 2012 American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Endometriosis is a common, complex gynecologic disorder characterized by the presence of endometrial glands and stroma at extrauterine (ectopic) sites. In women who develop this disease, alterations in specific biological processes involving both the endocrine and immune systems have been observed, which may explain the survival and growth of displaced endometrial tissue in affected women. In the past decade, a considerable amount of research has implicated a role for alterations in progesterone action at both eutopic and ectopic sites of endometrial growth which may contribute to the excessive inflammation associated with progression of endometriosis; however, it remains unclear whether these anomalies induce the condition or are simply a consequence of the disease process. In this article, we summarize current knowledge of alterations within the immune system of endometriosis patients and discuss how endometrial cells from women with this disease not only have the capacity to escape immunosurveillance, but also use inflammatory mechanisms to promote their growth within the peritoneal cavity. Finally, we discuss evidence that exposure to an environmental endocrine disruptor, such as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, can mediate the development of an endometrial phenotype that exhibits both reduced progesterone responsiveness and hypersensitivity to proinflammatory stimuli mimicking the endometriosis phenotype. Future studies in women with endometriosis should consider whether a heightened inflammatory response within the peritoneal microenvironment contributes to the development and persistence of this disease.
We have recently reported that adult male C57BL/6 mice exposed in utero to the environmental toxicant 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) confer an increased risk of preterm birth (PTB) to unexposed females. Risk of PTB was coincident with decreased placental progesterone receptor (Pgr) mRNA expression and increased toll-like receptor 4 (Tlr4) mRNA expression, suggesting that toxicant exposure induced a heightened inflammatory response at the maternal-fetal interface. Since omega-3 fatty acids exhibit anti-inflammatory activity, in this study, we provided TCDD-exposed males a fish oil-enriched diet prior to mating. Although PTB was common in control females mated to TCDD-exposed males on the standard diet, fish oil supplementation of TCDD-exposed males eliminated PTB in unexposed partners. We also determined the influence of preconception, paternal fish oil supplementation on the placental inflammatory response in late pregnancy (E18.5) by examining the expression of Pgr and Tlr4 mRNA as well as the expression of 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (PGDH). PGDH catabolizes the inflammatory PGE2 to an inactive form; thus, reduced expression of this enzyme would promote tissue inflammation. Compared with control pregnancies, examination of E18.5 placentas arising from TCDD-exposed males on the standard diet revealed a significant increase in Tlr4 mRNA expression corresponding to a reduction in Pgr mRNA and PGDH protein expression. In contrast, fish oil supplementation of toxicant-exposed males led to normalization of placental expression of both Pgr and Tlr4 mRNA and a marked increase in PGDH expression. These studies suggest that a paternal preconception diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids prevents the toxicant-associated increase in the placental inflammatory response at late gestation, preventing PTB.
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.
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
TCDD (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin) is a ubiquitous environmental contaminant and known endocrine disruptor. Since humans and animals are most sensitive to toxicant exposure during development, we previously developed a mouse model of in utero TCDD exposure in order to examine the impact of this toxicant on adult reproductive function. Our initial in utero toxicant-exposure study revealed a dose-dependent reduction in uterine sensitivity to progesterone; however, we did not previously explore establishment or maintenance of pregnancy. Thus, in the current study, we examined pregnancy outcomes in adult C57BL/6 mice with a history of developmental TCDD exposure. Herein we demonstrate reduced fertility and an increased incidence of premature birth (PTB) in F1 mice exposed in utero to TCDD as well as in three subsequent generations. Finally, our studies revealed that mice with a history of developmental TCDD exposure exhibit an increased sensitivity to inflammation which further negatively impacted gestation length in all generations examined.
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Development of endometriosis likely requires multiple, interactive mechanisms involving both the endocrine and immune systems. Environmental toxicants, such as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), are of particular interest as potential contributory agents in the development of this disease because they can disrupt both systems. Nevertheless, defining the potential role that environmental exposure to TCDD plays in the development of endometriosis requires a better understanding of how this toxicant affects the biological processes that promote the disease. Although the disease mechanism(s) responsible for progesterone resistance in the endometrium of endometriosis patients remains speculative, our studies indicate that developmental exposure of mice to TCDD leads to a progesterone-resistant phenotype in adult animals that can persist for several generations. These studies and others underscore the importance of developing a greater understanding of the mechanisms of TCDD action that relate to reproductive disorders such as endometriosis.
Whether environmental toxicants impact an individual woman's risk for developing endometriosis remains uncertain. Although the growth of endometrial glands and stroma at extra-uterine sites is associated with retrograde menstruation, our studies suggest that reduced responsiveness to progesterone may increase the invasive capacity of endometrial tissue in women with endometriosis. Interestingly, our recent studies using isolated human endometrial cells in short-term culture suggest that experimental exposure to the environmental contaminant 2,3,7,8-tetracholorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) can alter the expression of progesterone receptor isotypes. Compared to adult exposure, toxicant exposure during development can exert a significantly greater biological impact, potentially affecting the incidence of endometriosis in adults. To address this possibility, we exposed mice to TCDD at critical developmental time points and subsequently examined uterine progesterone receptor expression and steroid responsive transforming growth factor-beta2 expression in adult animals. We find that the uterine phenotype of toxicant-exposed mice is markedly similarly to the endometrial phenotype of women with endometriosis.
OBJECTIVE - To analyze endometrial progesterone receptor (PR) expression in women with endometriosis compared with disease-free women and to assess the impact of in vitro 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) exposure on PR isotype expression.
DESIGN - Controlled laboratory study.
SETTING - University medical center.
PATIENT(S) - Healthy volunteers and women with surgically diagnosed endometriosis.
INTERVENTION(S) - None.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S) - Analysis of in vivo PR-A and PR-B expression in endometrium from women with and without endometriosis. The impact of in vitro TCDD exposure on PR-B/PR-A ratio and cell-specific matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) expression was also determined.
RESULT(S) - The PR-B/PR-A ratio was lower in endometrial tissues from women with endometriosis compared with normal tissues. A similar ratio was induced in normal stromal cells cocultured with epithelial cells and exposed to TCDD. Disruption of stromal PR expression following TCDD exposure was associated with a failure of P-mediated down-regulation of both stromal-specific pro-MMP-3 and epithelial-specific pro-MMP-7.
CONCLUSION(S) - Our data suggest that reduced progesterone (P) sensitivity in the endometrium of women with endometriosis may be related to an altered pattern of PR expression. The ability of TCDD to selectively down-regulate stromal PR-B expression and increase MMP expression in both stromal and epithelial cells suggests that exposure to this toxin may negatively impact P-mediated cell-cell communication in the human endometrium.