Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are organic pollutants that can have lasting impacts on offspring health. Here, we sought to examine maternal and fetal gene expression differences of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR)-regulated genes in a mouse model of prenatal PCB126 exposure. Female mice were bred and gavaged with 1 µmole/kg bodyweight PCB126 or vehicle control on embryonic days 0 and 14, and maternal and fetal tissues were collected on embryonic day 18.5. Total RNAs were isolated, and gene expression levels were analyzed in both maternal and fetal tissues using the NanoString nCounter system. Interestingly, we found that the expression levels of cytochrome P450 (Cyp)1a1 and Cyp1b1 were significantly increased in response to PCB exposure in the tested maternal and fetal tissues. Furthermore, PCB exposure altered the expression of several other genes related to energy balance, oxidative stress, and epigenetic regulation in a manner that was less consistent across tissue types. These results indicate that maternal PCB126 exposure significantly alters gene expression in both developing fetuses and pregnant dams, and such changes vary in intensity and expressivity depending on tissue type. The altered gene expression may provide insights into pathophysiological mechanisms by which in utero PCB exposures contribute to PCB-induced postnatal metabolic diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108385
JournalReproductive Toxicology
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) [grant number P42 ES007380 and P30 ES026529 ]. C.S.R. was supported by NIH training grants ( T32DK07778 and 5T32HD060556 ). J.D.P was supported by the Medical Scientist Training Program Grant ( T32GM008169 ). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIH. The graphical abstract for this article was created with BioRender.com, and the NanoString image in the graphical abstract was adapted from “Tumor Tissue Analysis Workflow”, by BioRender.com (2023). Retrieved from https://app.biorender.com/biorender-templates .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc.


  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor
  • Cytochrome P450
  • Developmental Toxicity
  • Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls, Persistent Organic Pollutants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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