Cardiopulmonary consequences of gestational toxicant exposure: Symposium overview at the 56th annual SOT meeting, Baltimore, MD
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Xenobiotic exposures affect the maternal and/or in utero environment resulting in impairments in fetal development. During the period of rapid fetal growth, developing cardiovascular systems are especially vulnerable to their environment. Furthermore, fetal exposures can evoke changes in epigenetic signatures that result in permanent modifications in gene expression. This symposium focused on the intersection between maternal and fetal exposure and the developing cardiovascular system. The impact of maternal exposures on prenatal development is of major concern for regulatory agencies given the unique vulnerability of the embryo/fetus to environmental factors, the importance of vascular biology to maternal-fetal interactions, and the adverse consequences of vascular disruption to children's health. Speakers provided data from diverse exposures: nanomaterials, particulate matter or air pollution (PM2.5), nicotine, and environmental chemicals. The current findings related to susceptible gestational windows for cardiovascular development and epigenetic, transcriptomic, toxicokinetic, and toxicodynamic changes in vascular physiology and cardiac function. In response to these concerns, new concepts in predictive modeling and risk assessment associated with in utero exposures were presented as future avenues of research within developmental toxicology. Finally, current applications using an Adverse Outcome Pathway framework for developmental toxicity were presented to integrate data from in vitro profiling of chemical libraries (e.g. ToxCast™) with computational models for in silico toxicology. In summary, this symposium addressed the significant threats to cardiovascular health that are associated with fetal/perinatal exposures, and offered new insights into the predictive, mechanistic, and risk assessment strategies in developmental toxicology.
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