Prenatal Exposure to EDCs and Obesity: Combining Toxicology and Epidemiology with Dr. Juliette Legler

June 18, 2014
10:00 am US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources

Speaker presentation slides:

Dr. Legler: Prenatal exposure to EDCs and obesity: combining toxicology and epidemiology - Download slides (PDF)

Additional resources of interest:

The OBELIX project - Visit the website

Legler J, Hamers T, van Eck van der Sluijs-van de Bor M, Schoeters G, van der Ven L, Eggesbo M, Koppe J, Feinberg M, Trnovec T. The OBELIX project: early life exposure to endocrine disruptors and obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Dec;94(6 Suppl):1933S-1938S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.001669. Epub 2011 May 4. PubMed PMID: 21543539.

Legler J. An integrated approach to assess the role of chemical exposure in obesity. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 Jun;21(6):1084-5. doi: 10.1002/oby.20478. PubMed PMID: 23595954.

Govarts E, Nieuwenhuijsen M, Schoeters G, Ballester F, Bloemen K, de Boer M,Chevrier C, Eggesbø M, Guxens M, Krämer U, Legler J, Martínez D, Palkovicova L,Patelarou E, Ranft U, Rautio A, Petersen MS, Slama R, Stigum H, Toft G, Trnovec T, Vandentorren S, Weihe P, Kuperus NW, Wilhelm M, Wittsiepe J, Bonde JP; OBELIX; ENRIECO. Birth weight and prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE): a meta-analysis within 12 European Birth Cohorts. Environ Health Perspect. 2012 Feb;120(2):162-70. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1103767. Epub 2011 Oct 13. PubMed PMID: 21997443; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3279442.

Kamstra JH, Hruba E, Blumberg B, Janesick A, Mandrup S, Hamers T, Legler J. Transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms underlying enhanced in vitro adipocyte differentiation by the brominated flame retardant BDE-47. Environ Sci Technol.2014 Apr 1;48(7):4110-9. doi: 10.1021/es405524b. Epub 2014 Mar 11. PubMed PMID: 24559133; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3983330.

van Esterik JC, Dollé ME, Lamoree MH, van Leeuwen SP, Hamers T, Legler J, van  der Ven LT. Programming of metabolic effects in C57BL/6JxFVB mice by exposure to bisphenol A during gestation and lactation. Toxicology. 2014 Apr 13;321C:40-52. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2014.04.001. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24726836.

Previous calls hosted by the CHE EDCs Strategies Group: To see a full list of past calls in the series and listen to the MP3 recordings please visit the CHE Endocrine Distrupting Chemicals webpage.

Listen to Recording

The incidence of childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally and there is an urgent need to better understand the impact of early life exposure to chemical obesogens on the development of obesity. The European OBELIX (Obesogenic endocrine disrupting chemicals: linking prenatal exposure to the development of obesity later in life) project examined the hypothesis that prenatal exposure to endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) plays a role in the development of obesity later in life using a multidisciplinary approach that combined various approaches, including epidemiology and toxicology.

The project focused on assessing prenatal exposure to major classes of EDCs including dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls, non-dioxin-like PCBs, brominated flame retardants, organochlorine pesticides, phthalates, and perfluorinated alkyl acids. Toxicological studies in OBELIX demonstrated that perinatal dietary exposure to representatives of these EDC classes resulted in metabolic changes that persisted into adulthood, long after termination of exposure at weaning, and that effects were compound- and sex-specific. The observed effects were not consistently towards an obese phenotype; a lean phenotype was also observed in animal studies for some compounds. Epidemiological studies in birth cohorts throughout Europe indicated associations between pre- and postnatal exposure to EDCs and early growth trajectories and body mass index in children up to 7 years.

This call reviewed the main findings of the largest project up to now to examine the obesogen hypothesis.

Featured Speaker

Juliette Legler, PhD, is a Professor of Toxicology and Environmental Health at the Institute for Environmental Studies of the VU University Amsterdam. With a background  in environmental toxicology and molecular biology, she has developed test methods to study the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Her research with zebrafish, rodent and in vitro models has expanded to understanding the effects and underlying mechanisms of chemical exposure during development in humans. As coordinator of the EU project OBELIX and recipient of a Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research VIDI grant, she researches the role of exposure to chemicals in obesity. Legler also coordinates the VU’s Master program in Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology and has served on various advisory and review boards, including the Dutch Health Council and OECD.

This half-hour teleconference call is one in a monthly series sponsored by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment’s EDC Strategies Group.The CHE EDC Strategies Group is chaired by Carol Kwiatkowski (TEDX), Sharyle Patton (Commonweal), and Genon Jensen (HEAL). To see a full list of past calls in the series and listen to the MP3 recordings please visit the CHE Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals webpage.