Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are ubiquitous environmental contaminants whose exposure levels are associated with various health hazards. We hypothesized that in utero and lactational exposure to PCBs can cause changes in body composition and obesity in a mouse model. Pregnant mice were exposed biweekly to two concentrations of PCB 126 via oral gavage. Maternal PCB exposure did not result in heavier offspring, however, dose-dependent and sex specific changes in body composition were observed. Female offspring displayed the most susceptibility to PCB-induced alterations in body composition, having less percent lean body mass and increased adiposity compared to females born to control dams, and these effects were largely dose-dependent. In contrast to females, and independent of the exposure level of PCB 126, male offspring had reduced lean body mass but no change in fat mass compared to males born to control dams. In conclusion, perinatal PCB 126 exposure did not affect body weight, but rather modulated body composition in a dose-dependent and gender-specific manner.
Keywords: Programming; aryl hydrocarbon receptor; coplanar; mice; obesity; persistent organic pollutants.