Environmental Contributors to Preterm Birth

March 19, 2012
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources

Speaker Presentation Slides

Dr. Chang: Fine Particle Air Pollution and Preterm Birth Results from North Carolina, 2001-2005 (PDF)

Dr. Loch-Caruso: Toxicology of Parturition (PDF)

Dr. Bruner-Tran: Preconception Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation and the Prevention of Toxicant-Associated Preterm Birth in a Mouse Model (PDF)

Additonal Resources

Chang HH, Reich BJ, Miranda ML. Time-to-event analysis of fine particle air pollution and preterm birth: results from North Carolina, 2001-2005. Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Jan 15;175(2):91-8. Epub 2011 Dec 13. PMID: 22167746

Ferguson KK, Loch-Caruso R, Meeker JD. Exploration of oxidative stress and inflammatory markers in relation to urinary phthalate metabolites: NHANES 1999-2006. Environ Sci Technol. 2012 Jan 3;46(1):477-85. Epub 2011 Dec 1. PMID:  22085025

Miller MF, Loch-Caruso R. Comparison of LPS-stimulated release of cytokines in punch versus transwell tissue culture systems of human gestational membranes. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2010 Oct 15;8:121. PMID: 20950439 Free PMC Article

McConaha, ME, Ding, T, Lucas, JA, Arosh, JA, Osteen, KG, Bruner-Tran, KL. Preconception omega-3 fatty acid supplementation of adult male mice with a history of developmental TCDD (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin) exposure prevents preterm birth in unexposed female partners. Reproduction, 2011 Aug;142(2):235-41. PMID: 21653731

Ding T, McConaha M, Boyd KL, Osteen KG, Bruner-Tran KL. Developmental dioxin exposure of either parent is associated with an increased risk of preterm birth in adult mice. Reprod Toxicol. 2011 Apr;31(3):351-8. PMID: 21093581

Perera F, Herbstman J. Prenatal environmental exposures, epigenetics, and disease. Reprod Toxicol. 2011 Apr;31(3):363-73. Epub 2011 Jan 20.

Listen to Recording

Preterm birth is an intractable public health problem, affecting more than 500,000 infants per year in the United States. Long-term sequelae of preterm birth include intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, vision and hearing loss, and respiratory and digestive problems. The annual societal economic burden associated with preterm birth in the US was estimated at $26.2 billion in 2005. A mounting body of research links environmental contaminants to preterm birth.

This CHE Fertility call featured Dr. Howard Chang from Emory University, Dr. Rita Loch-Caruso from the University of Michigan and Dr. Kaylon Bruner-Tran from Vanderbilt University. Dr. Chang presented his review of birth record data linking fine particle air pollution and preterm birth. Dr. Loch-Caruso described her research on inflammatory response in human amniotic membranes. Dr. Kaylon Bruner-Tran discussed her data in mice on the adult reproductive consequences of a prior fetal exposure to the environmental toxicant dioxin as well as the amelioration of these effects by fish oil supplementation.

Featured Speakers

Howard ChangDr. Howard Chang is an assistant professor at the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics within the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Dr. Chang’s primary research interest is in environmental epidemiology, particularly the health effects of ambient air pollution. One central theme is the development and application of statistical methods for analyzing complex spatio-temporal exposure and health data. Dr. Chang’s current projects examine the health effects of ambient particulate matter and ozone on mortality, hospital admissions, and adverse birth outcomes.

Rita Loch-CarusoDr. Rita Loch-Caruso is a toxicologist with a research focus in female reproductive toxicology and, in particular, mechanisms related to adverse pregnancy outcomes such as premature birth. She has her primary faculty appointment as Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Michigan, where she is the Leader of the Toxicology Program, Director of the NIEHS/NIH funded training grant for Environmental Toxicology and Epidemiology Program, and Leader of the Oxidative Stress Research Team in the NIEHS/NIH Center for Lifestage Exposures and Adult Disease. In addition, she has a faculty appointment in the Program in the Environment in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.  Dr. Loch-Caruso has served on numerous local, state and national committees including the Institute of Medicine Committee on Understanding Premature Birth and Assuring Healthy Outcomes. 

Kaylon Bruner-Tran is an associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt University’s Women’s Reproductive Health Research Center. Dr. Bruner-Tran is also the chair of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s (ASRM) Special Interest Group on Nutrition (NutriSIG). Dr. Bruner-Tran’s laboratory examines the mechanisms by which early life dioxin exposure leads to the development of reproductive disorders, particularly those which impact pregnancy establishment and maintenance.  Concomitant with these studies is the examination of nutritional intervention strategies which may reduce the negative consequences of a previous (or ancestral) dioxin exposure on adult reproductive tract function.

The call was moderated by Karin Russ, CHE Fertility and Reproductive Health Working Group National Coordinator.