People exposed to harmful pesticides open up the possibility of a plethora of diseases for their future generations, a new research by Washington State University shows.
The study, conducted on mice models, found that ancestral exposures to the pesticide methoxychlor can result in adult onset kidney disease, ovarian disease and obesity in future generations.
"What your great-grandmother was exposed to during pregnancy, like the pesticide methoxychlor, may promote a dramatic increase in your susceptibility to develop disease, and you will pass this on to your grandchildren in the absence of any continued exposures," stated Michael Skinner, WSU professor and founder of its Center for Reproductive Biology, reported in the press release.
For the study, Skinner and team looked in to the pesticide methoxychlor, which is also known as Chemform, Methoxo, Metox or Moxie. It was introduced in 1948 and widely used to replace DDT in the 1970s on crops, plants, livestock and pets. In 2003, methoxychlor was banned because of the toxicity that damages the endocrine systems in people.
Researchers exposed gestating rats to unusually high levels of the pesticide to rats that were gestating. Then the rats were bred through three generations. The team found that risk of kidney disease, ovary disease and obesity increased in the second and third generations. The researchers said that early exposure during pregnancy might affect how the offspring's genes are activated and deactivated. This process is known as transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.
Researchers say that the findings explain the high obesity rate prevalent in the U.S. despite the study being done on mice models.
The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, was published in the journal, PLOS ONE.