2017

Project Title: Xenobiotic-Nutrient Interactions for Prevention Against Environmental Chemical Toxicity and Associated Diseases
Principal Investigator:  Igor Shmarakov, PhD, Associate Research Scientist, Department of Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Nutrition
Co-Investigator:  William S. Blaner, PhD, Professor of Nutritional Medicine, Dept. of Medicine
Year:  2017-2018
Award Amount: $35,000

Abstract:  Exposure to environmental pollutants contributes to compromised health and the pathology of many age-related diseases, including cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Effective strategies that mitigate the effects of toxicants on disease etiology and progression are of great public health significance. Our preliminary studies establish that retinoids (vitamin A and its derivatives) directly modulate xenobiotic detoxification and the extent of xenobiotic toxicity in the liver. This pilot project will explore the molecular interactions between polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and retinoids that affect PCB detoxification. PCBs represent the most ubiquitous environmentally persistent organic pollutants, causing liver, kidney, endocrine, and neurodevelopmental toxicities. We will undertake a systematic analysis of how PCB detoxification and toxicity are influenced by retinoid. These studies will employ mutant mouse models lacking key receptor proteins controlling xenobiotic detoxification: constitutive androstane receptor (CAR), pregnane X receptor (PXR) and nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2). Our research will identify key targets of CAR, PXR or NRF2 signaling that are modulated by retinoids. Data generated from the study will support a planned NIH R01 application to more extensively investigate PCB toxicity and how retinoids influence PCB detoxification.


Project Title:  Exposure to Personal Care Products During Pregnancy Using Passive Samplers
Principal Investigators: Julie Herbstman, PhD, ScM, Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Rachana Gavara, MD, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Year:  2017-2018
Award Amount: $35,000

Abstract:  Use of personal care products (e.g., make-up, shampoos, soaps, nail polish and hair-dye) contain a wide variety of environmental chemicals, including chemicals that are considered endocrine disruptors. Particularly during pregnancy, many women have a heightened concern about whether the use of these products is safe for them and their developing baby. Currently, the scientific literature is limited and guidance documents from authoritative bodies like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) are non-specific, leaving practicing clinicians with little guidance on how to advise their patients. The goals of this project are to 1) characterize use of personal care products among pregnant women living in Washington Heights and the South Bronx, evaluate whether the use of these products is associated with increases in exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds, and to assess and validate the measurement of these compounds using personal wristband samplers and in contemporaneously collected urine samples; and 2) report individual-level results to study participants and report aggregate-level results to clinicians working with pregnant women.