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Prenatal phthalate exposure and placental telomere length

      Telomere shortening is an established marker of cellular aging that can be induced by stress and environmental exposure, promoting disease.
      • Blackburn EH
      • Epel ES
      • Lin J.
      Human telomere biology: a contributory and interactive factor in aging, disease risks, and protection.
      Placental telomere length (TL) has been shown to physiologically shorten throughout gestation with evidence of accelerated shortening in adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm premature rupture of membranes, fetal growth restriction, and preeclampsia.
      • Gielen M
      • Hageman G
      • Pachen D
      • Derom C
      • Vlietinck R
      • Zeegers MP.
      Placental telomere length decreases with gestational age and is influenced by parity: a study of third trimester live-born twins.
      Our objective was to assess the association of maternal urinary levels of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) metabolites with placental TL. DEHP is a ubiquitous, high-molecular-weight phthalate with known effects on reproductive health such as reduced fertility; however, its specific interaction with TL, perinatal outcomes, or the placenta have not been studied.
      • Martens DS
      • Nawrot TS.
      Ageing at the level of telomeres in association to residential landscape and air pollution at home and work: a review of the current evidence.
      We hypothesized that higher prenatal urinary levels of DEHP metabolites would be associated with shorter placental TL.
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