Exposure to environmental chemicals has a broad spectrum of adverse effects on the human body. Chemicals of recent concern include phthalates, bisphenols A, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and perfluorinated compounds. Bisphenol F( BPF), an aromatic organic compound, can be used as an alternative to Bisphenol A, which has been detected in canned food, thermal receipts, and soft drinks. This chemical can induce changes in gene that is vital for normal brain development. Children under 7 years of age, who had exposed pre as well as postnatally to these chemicals were found to have lower IQ. This can be explained by “Epigenetic mechanism.”
Epigenetics is the study of how your behavior and environment can cause changes that affect the way your gene work. One way by which epigenetic changes affect gene expression is “Methylation”(adding chemical group to DNA). Increased methylation in DNA block the proteins that attach to DNA to read the gene. As a result, expression of genes often impaired.
The unconjugated BPF is mostly excreted through urine. The scientist measured level of BPF in the urine of pregnant women from the first trimester and subsequently monitored their children after birth. The distribution of BPF in fetal stage, as well as babies, shows that BPF are delivered through placental as well as breast milk. Methylation was observed in fetuses exposed to BPF at a specific part of the gene GRIN2B (encode the NMDA receptors subunit NR2B). Subsequently, lower IQ was noticed in these children. It also revealed the effect of BPF on cognitive outcome in males compared to females.
This study gives a clear idea that DNA methylation at GRIN2B is the Root for lower IQ in children who had pre as well as postnatal BPF exposure. Also, the effect of environmental chemicals at molecular level can cause changes in various other genes and their function.
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Source: Medical Xpress
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