Metabolic Diseases Linked to Early Life Pollutant Exposures

Elucidating the role of adipocytokines and insulin-like growth factors in the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases linked to early life environmental pollutant exposures

Principal Investigator: Damaskini Valvi, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.

Developmental exposure to environmental pollutants, such as persistent organic pollutants, is associated with increased risks for obesity and related metabolic diseases in later life. In vitro and in vivo evidence suggests that these effects may be at least partially mediated through alterations in adipocytokine expression and/or perturbations in the Growth Hormone/Insulin-like Growth Factor -1 (GH/IGF-1) axis that play a critical role in growth and metabolism since the very first years of life. However, the potential role of adipocytokines and GH/IGF-1 axis factors in the pathogenesis of pollutant-related metabolic abnormalities is underexplored in birth cohort studies. Prospective cohorts are the most appropriate epidemiologic study design for evaluating these hypotheses, and they can further contribute to the identification of critical windows of susceptibility. Thus, we propose to evaluate the associations of both prenatal and postnatal exposures to environmental pollutants with repeated measures of serum adipocytokines and GH/IGF-1 axis factors from birth through early puberty, using data from an existing Faroese birth cohort (Cohort 3, N = 656). In this cohort, extensive data on environmental pollutants, child clinical markers and additional information have already been collected, and biobanked cord and child serum samples for analyzing novel adipocytokines and insulin-like growth factors are available.