Maternal residential air pollution and placental imprinted gene expression

Samantha L. Kingsley, Maya A. Deyssenroth, Karl T. Kelsey, Yara Abu Awad, Itai Kloog, Joel D. Schwartz, Luca Lambertini, Jia Chen, Carmen J. Marsit, Gregory A. Wellenius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background Maternal exposure to air pollution is associated with reduced fetal growth, but its relationship with expression of placental imprinted genes (important regulators of fetal growth) has not yet been studied. Objectives To examine relationships between maternal residential air pollution and expression of placental imprinted genes in the Rhode Island Child Health Study (RICHS). Methods Women-infant pairs were enrolled following delivery between 2009 and 2013. We geocoded maternal residential addresses at delivery, estimated daily levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5; n = 355) and black carbon (BC; n = 336) using spatial-temporal models, and estimated residential distance to nearest major roadway (n = 355). Using linear regression models we investigated the associations between each exposure metric and expression of nine candidate genes previously associated with infant birthweight in RICHS, with secondary analyses of a panel of 108 imprinted genes expressed in the placenta. We also explored effect measure modification by infant sex. Results PM2.5 and BC were associated with altered expression for seven and one candidate genes, respectively, previously linked with birthweight in this cohort. Adjusting for multiple comparisons, we found that PM2.5 and BC were associated with changes in expression of 41 and 12 of 108 placental imprinted genes, respectively. Infant sex modified the association between PM2.5 and expression of CHD7 and between proximity to major roadways and expression of ZDBF2. Conclusions We found that maternal exposure to residential PM2.5 and BC was associated with changes in placental imprinted gene expression, which suggests a plausible line of investigation of how air pollution affects fetal growth and development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-211
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironment international
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Air pollution
  • Genomic imprinting
  • Placenta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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