Developmental Exposure to a Mixture of Unconventional Oil and Gas Chemicals Increased Risk-Taking Behavior, Activity and Energy Expenditure in Aged Female Mice After a Metabolic Challenge

Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2019 Jul 25;10:460. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2019.00460. eCollection 2019.


Chemicals used in unconventional oil and gas (UOG) operations can act as endocrine disrupting chemicals and metabolic disruptors. Our lab has reported altered energy expenditure and activity in C57BL/6J mice that were preconceptionally, gestationally, and lactationally exposed via maternal drinking water to a laboratory-created mixture of 23 UOG chemicals from gestational day 1 to postnatal day 21 in 7-month-old female mice with no change in body composition. We hypothesized that allowing the mice to age and exposing them to a high fat, high sugar diet might reveal underlying changes in energy balance. To investigate whether aging and metabolic challenge would exacerbate this phenotype, these mice were aged to 12 months and given a high fat, high sugar diet (HFHSD) challenge. The short 3-day HFHSD challenge increased body weight and fasting blood glucose in all mice. Developmental exposure to the 23 UOG mixture was associated with increased activity and non-resting energy expenditure in the light cycle, increased exploratory behavior in the elevated plus maze test, and decreased sleep in 12 month female mice. Each of these effects was seen in the light cycle when mice are normally less active. Further studies are needed to better understand the behavioral changes observed after developmental exposure to UOG chemicals.

Keywords: activity; endocrine disrupting chemicals; energy expenditure; hydraulic fracturing; metabolic; unconventional oil and gas.