Semin Reprod Med 2009; 27(5): 380-390
DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1237426
© Thieme Medical Publishers

Environmental Influences on Epigenetic Profiles

Melissa A. Suter1 , Kjersti M. Aagaard-Tillery1
  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
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Publication History

Publication Date:
26 August 2009 (online)


Studies of environmental challenges, such as hazardous air pollutants, nonmutagenic toxins, diet choice, and maternal behavioral patterns, reveal changes in gene expression patterns, DNA methylation, and histone modifications that are in causal association with exogenous exposures. In this article we summarize some of the recent advances in the field of environmental epigenetics and highlight seminal studies that implicate in utero exposures as causative agents in altering not only the epigenome of the exposed gestation, but that of subsequent generations. Current studies of the effects of maternal behavior, exposure to environmental toxins, and exposure to maternal diet and an altered gestational milieu are summarized.