17% of U.S. children have been diagnosed with a learning or behavior disorder. We are proposing policy relevant research on the contribution of prenatal exposures to the common endocrine disruptors, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and bisphenol A (BPA), to neurodevelopmental disorders in early adolescence, and epigenetic mechanisms as mediators of these effects. The project takes advantage of our ongoing cohort study of children residing in low-income, minority neighborhoods of New York City who have been followed by the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH) since 1998 and of our new study of younger siblings (Sibling/Hermanos cohort). Our cohorts provide a unique opportunity to evaluate the longer-term consequences of prenatal exposure to PAH and, for the first time, to assess the effect of prenatal BPA exposure through the peri-pubertal years, elucidating the role of epigenetic mechanisms in their neurobehavioral impacts.
Aim1 : Determine whether prenatal exposures to the endocrine disruptors PAH and BPA are associated with adverse neurobehavioral outcomes in peri-pubertal children, as measured by diagnostic assessment of child psychopathology and cognitive functioning.
Aim 2 : Determine whether prenatal exposure to PAH or BPA is associated with epigenetic changes in umbilical cord white blood cells (DNA methylation validated by gene expression) in candidate genes/pathways associated with endocrine disruption and immune dysregulation known to be critical in fetal brain development, and whether altered methylation and gene expression is associated with the neurobehavioral outcomes described in Aim 1.
Aim 3 : Using GIS, determine the extent to which neighborhood-level conditions contribute to neurobehavioral outcomes and/or moderate the individual-level associations between exposure to PAH or BPA and child neurodevelopment (as seen in Aims 1 and 2). Understanding of the multi-factorial etiology and mechanisms of developmental disorders that affect children's academic performance will open new avenues for prevention.

Public Health Relevance

These studies will ascertain how environmental exposures may be responsible for the neurodevelopmental and neurobehavioral disorders that are seen in the U.S. overall and in our target population. An understanding of how epigenetic mechanisms may be responsible for mediating the effects of prenatal exposures on these adverse health outcomes will allow targeted interventions to prevent long-term effects on children's health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1-LKB-G)
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Columbia University (N.Y.)
New York
United States
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Rauh, Virginia A; Margolis, Amy E (2016) Research Review: Environmental exposures, neurodevelopment, and child mental health - new paradigms for the study of brain and behavioral effects. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 57:775-93
Hoepner, Lori A; Whyatt, Robin M; Widen, Elizabeth M et al. (2016) Bisphenol A and Adiposity in an Inner-City Birth Cohort. Environ Health Perspect 124:1644-1650
Miller, Rachel L; Yan, Zhonghai; Maher, Christina et al. (2016) Impact of prenatal polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure on behavior, cortical gene expression and DNA methylation of the Bdnf gene. Neuroepigenetics 5:11-18
Lovinsky-Desir, Stephanie; Jung, Kyung Hwa; Rundle, Andrew G et al. (2016) Physical activity, black carbon exposure and airway inflammation in an urban adolescent cohort. Environ Res 151:756-762
Lovinsky-Desir, Stephanie; Miller, Rachel L; Bautista, Joshua et al. (2016) Differences in Ambient Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Concentrations between Streets and Alleys in New York City: Open Space vs. Semi-Closed Space. Int J Environ Res Public Health 13:
Perera, Frederica; Nolte, Emily L Roen; Wang, Ya et al. (2016) Bisphenol A exposure and symptoms of anxiety and depression among inner city children at 10-12 years of age. Environ Res 151:195-202
Widen, Elizabeth M; Whyatt, Robin M; Hoepner, Lori A et al. (2016) Gestational weight gain and obesity, adiposity and body size in African-American and Dominican children in the Bronx and Northern Manhattan. Matern Child Nutr 12:918-28
Peterson, Bradley S; Rauh, Virginia A; Bansal, Ravi et al. (2015) Effects of prenatal exposure to air pollutants (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) on the development of brain white matter, cognition, and behavior in later childhood. JAMA Psychiatry 72:531-40
Just, Allan C; Miller, Rachel L; Perzanowski, Matthew S et al. (2015) Vinyl flooring in the home is associated with children's airborne butylbenzyl phthalate and urinary metabolite concentrations. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 25:574-9
Choi, Hyunok; Melly, Steven; Spengler, John (2015) Intraurban and longitudinal variability of classical pollutants in Kraków, Poland, 2000-2010. Int J Environ Res Public Health 12:4967-91

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