Mechanistic Mediation of Flame Retardants in Preterm Birth

November 17, 2021
12:00 pm US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources


Ramkumar Menon: Mechanistic Mediation of Flame Retardants in Preterm Birth


The Menon Lab website - https://www.utmb.edu/obgyn/researchn/ob-gyn-basic-clinical-translational-

Behnia, F.Peltier, M.R.Saade, G.R.Menon, R. (2015). Environmental Pollutant Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether, a Flame Retardant, Induces Primary Amnion Cell Senescence. Am J Prod Immunol. 74(5):398-406. DOI: 10.1111/aji.12414

Sungjin Kim, Lauren Richardson, Enkhtuya Radnaa, Zunwei Chen, Ivan Rusyn, Ramkumar Menon, Arum Han. (2021).
Molecular mechanisms of environmental toxin cadmium at the feto-maternal interface investigated using an organ-on-chip (FMi-OOC) model. 
Journal of Hazardous Materials. 422(2022):126759. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.


Polybromated diethyl ether(s) (PBDEs) have been in widespread use as flame retardant for decades with greatest consumption in the United States. PBDEs bioaccumulate in lipophilic tissues through ingestion of contaminated food commodities or household dust and recent reports showed their presence of PBDE in amniotic fluid, umbilical cord, cord plasma, placenta and fetal membranes. During this webinar, Dr. Ramkumar Menon discussed his research looking at accumulation of PBDE in various reproductive tissues, which has been associated with preterm birth. Mechanistically, PBDE causes reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation from fetal tissues causing oxidative stress induced damage.  ROS results in stress signaler p38 mitogen activated protein kinase generation and senescence (mechanism of aging) and senescence associated inflammatory conditions during pregnancy. Premature aging of fetal tissues by PBDE is one of the effectors of preterm birth. Reducing p38MAPK activation and minimizing the impact of senescence is one of the ways to mitigate PBDE associated preterm birth.

This webinar is one in a monthly series sponsored by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment’s EDC Strategies Partnership. The CHE EDC Strategies Partnership is chaired by Sharyle Patton (Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center), Jerry Heindel (Commonweal HEEDS, Healthy Environment and Endocrine Disruptor Strategies), Genon Jensen (HEAL), Sarah Howard (DiabetesandEnvironment.org), and Hannah Donart (Collaborative on Health and the Environment, a Commonweal program). To see a full list of past calls and webinars related to EDCs and listen to or view recordings, please visit our partnership page. 

This webinar was moderated by Jerry Heindel, PhD, founder and director of Commonweal's Healthy Environment and Endocrine Disruptor Strategies (HEEDS). It lasted for 30 minutes and was recorded for our call and webinar archive.

Featured Speaker

Ramkumar Menon, PhD, is a tenured Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology/Cell biology at the University Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, TX. He is also the Director of the Division of Basic and Translational Research. Dr. Menon is a global leader in preterm birth (PTB) research and functions as executive director of Preterm birth international collaborative (PREBIC), a not-for-profit research and education organization. His lab is developing strategies to reduce PTB risk using extracellular vesicles as a drug delivery vehicle to treat fetal inflammatory response. His lab is also involved in developing various Organ-on-Chip models for various intrauterine organ system. His research is currently funded by National Institute of Health (NIH, USA) and other non-federal agencies. He has published over 275 peer reviewed articles and book chapters. Dr Menon is also a mentor to over 50 medical and post graduate students.