Exposure to diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) results in a heritable modification of imprint genes DNA methylation in mouse oocytes
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Diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) is an estrogen-like compound widely used as a plasticizer in commercial products and is present in medical devices, and common household items. It is considered an endocrine disruptor since studies on experimental animals clearly show that exposure to DEHP can alter epigenetics of germ cells. This study was designed to assess the effects of DEHP on DNA methylation of imprinting genes in germ cells from fetal and adult mouse. Pregnant mice were treated with DEHP at doses of 0 and 40 μg DEHP/kg body weight/day from 0.5 to 18.5 day post coitum. The data revealed DEHP exposure significantly reduced the percentage of methylated CpG sites in Igf2r and Peg3 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) in primordial germ cells from female and male fetal mouse, particularly, in the oocytes of 21 dpp mice (F1), which were produced by the pregnant micetreated with DEHP. More surprisingly, the modification of the DNA methylation of imprinted genes in F1 mouse oocytes was heritable to F2 offspring which exhibit lower percentages of methylated CpG sites in imprinted genes DMRs. In conclusion, DEHP exposure can affect the DNA methylation of imprinting genes not only in fetal mouse germ cells and growing oocytes, but also in offspring’s oocytes.
KeywordsDEHP Primordial germ cells Oocytes Imprint genes DNA methylation
This work is supported by National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program, 2012CB944401), National Nature Science Foundation (31201120 and 31001010) and Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (NCET-12-1026), Foundation of Distinguished Young Scholars (JQ201109), and Nature Science Foundation of Hubei Province (2011CDB230).
Conflict of interest
The authors fully declare any financial or other potential conflict of interest.
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