Epigenetic Memory of Early-Life Parental Perturbation: Dopamine Decrease and DNA Methylation Changes in Offspring

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2019 Feb 19:2019:1472623. doi: 10.1155/2019/1472623. eCollection 2019.


Early-life exposure (from postnatal day 6 to postnatal day 21) to permethrin has been associated with long-term development of dopaminergic neurodegeneration in rats. Here, we first investigated if the dopamine decrease observed following early postnatal exposure to permethrin, an oxidative stressor, can impair the dopamine level in the brain of their untreated offspring. Secondly, we evaluated whether this adverse event affects the epigenome of both directly exposed rats (F0) and their untreated offspring (F1). The results show that early-life exposure to the stressor is associated with changes in global DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation in adult age. Furthermore, parental exposure leads to a significant reduction in dopamine level in the offspring (F1) born from parents or just mothers early-life treated (72.72% and 47.35%, respectively). About 2/3 of pups from exposed mothers showed a significant reduction in dopamine level compared to controls. Global DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation impairment was associated with the F1 pups that showed reduced dopamine. This study provides pivotal evidences on intergenerational effects of postnatal exposure to permethrin emphasizing that this xenobiotic can influence the epigenetic memory of early-life parental perturbations disturbing offspring health.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • DNA Methylation / genetics*
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neostriatum / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / genetics*
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Dopamine