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Paternal Epigenetic Inheritance: A man’s life experiences may impact health of his unborn children and grandchildren

Paternal Epigenetic Inheritance: A man’s life experiences may impact health of his unborn children and grandchildren

Objective

Epigenetic inheritance may not only occur in plants and fungi but also in mammals. While the effect of maternal lifestyle and in utero exposures is well studied, paternal epigenetic inheritance is a novel research field, especially in regard to chemical exposures. Many environmental pollutants exhibit anti-androgenic function. Despite the vital role of androgens in spermatogenesis, the effects of adult anti-androgen exposure on the sperm epigenome and offspring phenotype have been scarcely studied.
The overall aim of this novel project is to increase the understanding of if, and how, male life experiences such as adult exposure to the anti-androgenic model substance and pollutant DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate) may affect offspring through paternal epigenetic inheritance. I accomplish this by integrating animal and human studies, using RNA-sequencing and mass spectrometry-based peptidomics to identify DBP-induced alterations in the sperm transcriptome and peptidome, examine noncoding RNAs and peptides role in embryogenesis, development and long-term health of the offspring in two generations. To validate the mechanistic importance of the sperm molecular alterations microinjections of selected biomolecules into zygotes will be conducted. This is the first project to investigate multigenerational effects of adult male exposure to anti-androgens in detail, and investigate the role of the sperm peptidome in paternal epigenetic inheritance. Directly linking animal experimental data about paternal transmission to human studies is unique and necessary to determine causal connection between environmentally-induced biomolecular alterations in sperm and offspring phenotype. The project can contribute to ground-breaking mechanistic understanding of how male life experiences may affect offspring through epigenetic inheritance. The findings may also have important public health implications via new regulations of anti-androgenic chemicals and male preconceptional interventions.
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Host institution

STOCKHOLMS UNIVERSITET

Address

Universitetsvagen 10
10691 Stockholm

Sweden

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 1 500 000

Beneficiaries (1)

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STOCKHOLMS UNIVERSITET

Sweden

EU Contribution

€ 1 500 000

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 805057

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 January 2019

  • End date

    31 December 2023

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 1 500 000

  • EU contribution

    € 1 500 000

Hosted by:

STOCKHOLMS UNIVERSITET

Sweden