Maternal Exposure to Environmental Disruptors and Sexually Dimorphic Changes in Maternal and Neonatal Oxidative Stress

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Feb 1;105(2):492-505. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgz063.


Context: Early pregnancy exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) may contribute to poor birth outcomes through oxidative stress (OS)-mediated disruption of the maternal and fetal milieu. Most studies have investigated the effect of single EDC exposures on OS.

Objective: Assess the association of uniquely weighted mixtures of early pregnancy exposures with the maternal and neonatal OS markers.

Design: Prospective analysis of mother-infant dyads.

Setting: University hospital.

Participants: 56 mother-infant dyads.

Main outcome measures: The association of OS markers (nitrotyrosine, dityrosine, chlorotyrosine) in maternal first trimester and term, and cord blood plasma with maternal first trimester exposure levels of each of 41 toxicants (trace elements, metals, phenols, and phthalates) from 56 subjects was analyzed using Spearman correlations and linear regression. The association of OS markers with inflammatory cytokines and birth outcomes were analyzed by Spearman correlation and linear regression analysis, respectively. Weighted mixtures of early pregnancy exposures were created by principal component analysis and offspring sex-dependent and independent associations with oxidative stress markers were assessed.

Results: (1) An inverse relationship between levels of maternal/cord OS markers and individual EDCs was evident. In contrast, when assessed as EDC mixtures, both direct and inverse associations were evident in a sex-specific manner; (2) the maternal term OS marker, nitrotyrosine, was inversely associated with gestational age, and (3) both direct and inverse associations were evident between the 3 OS markers and individual cytokines.

Conclusions: Provides proof of concept that effects of exposures on OS varies when assessed as EDC mixtures versus individually.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Endocrine Disruptors / analysis
  • Endocrine Disruptors / toxicity*
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Proof of Concept Study
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Tyrosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Tyrosine / blood


  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • 3-nitrotyrosine
  • Tyrosine
  • dityrosine