Effects of 2,3',4,4'5-pentachlorobiphenyl exposure during pregnancy on epigenetic imprinting and maturation of offspring's oocytes in mice

Arch Toxicol. 2019 Sep;93(9):2575-2592. doi: 10.1007/s00204-019-02529-z. Epub 2019 Aug 6.


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a class of organic pollutants that have been widely found in the environment. The chemical 2,3',4,4'5-pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB118) is an important dioxin-like PCB compound with strong toxicity. PCB118 can accumulate in adipose tissue, serum and milk in mammals, and it is highly enriched in the follicular fluid. In this study, pregnant mice were exposed to 0, 20 and 100 μg/kg/day of PCB118 during pregnancy at the fetal primordial germ cell migration stage. The methylation patterns of the imprinted genes H19, Snrpn, Peg3 and Igf2r as well as the expression levels of Dnmt1, 3a, 3b and 3l, Uhrf1, Tet2 and Tet3 in fully grown germinal vesicle oocytes were measured in offspring. The rates of in vitro maturation, in vitro fertilization, oocyte spindle and chromosomal abnormalities were also calculated. The results showed that prenatal exposure to PCB118 altered the DNA methylation status of differentially methylated regions in some imprinted genes, and the expression levels of Dnmt1, 3a, and 3l, Uhrf1 and Tet3 were also changed. In addition, PCB118 disturbed the maturation process of progeny mouse oocytes in a dose-dependent manner. Therefore, attention should be paid to the potential impacts of PCB118-contaminated dietary intake during pregnancy on the offspring's reproductive health.

Keywords: Epigenetic modifications; Imprinted genes; Oocyte maturation; PCB118.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • DNA Methylation / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / drug effects
  • Female
  • Genomic Imprinting / drug effects*
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects
  • Mice
  • Oocytes / drug effects*
  • Oocytes / growth & development
  • Oogenesis / drug effects*
  • Oogenesis / genetics
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / toxicity*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / genetics*


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • 2,3',4,4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls