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microRNA biomarkers of THS teratogenicity

Institution: University of California, Riverside
Investigator(s): Nicole Zur Nieden, Dr. rer.nat. (Ph.D. equivalent
Award Cycle: 2016 (Cycle 25) Grant #: 25IP-0018 Award: $293,205
Subject Area: Environmental Exposure/Toxicology
Award Type: High Impact Pilot Award

Initial Award Abstract

Active smoking of a pregnant women or her exposure to passive secondhand smoke can cause a myriad of adverse health consequences in her newborn, including those that affect the limb and facial bones. However, how exposure to third hand smoke (THS), which was recently identified to be chemical residues of cigarette smoke that deposit on the skin and household surfaces (carpets, fabric, plastic toys), affect developing bone structures remains unknown.

To establish baseline information regarding the toxicity of THS towards developing live, we will expose pregnant mice to THS and examine embryo growth in general and bone development in particular. Screening in stem cell models of human bone development will provide much needed data on the relative toxicity of individual chemical constituents found in THS. Lastly, molecular approaches will identify novel biomarkers associated with THS exposure that can be used by health care workers to counsel parents. Together, the data gathered in this project will have implications for our entire population and how its reproductive health could be affected by THS and will aid in the formulation of novel policies set forth to regulate THS exposure.