Maternal Environmental Exposome and Offspring Development

People are always simultaneously exposed to a multitude of different environmental factors including diet, meteorological factors, lifestyle factors, chemicals, infectious agents, and socioeconomic influence. These factors tend to cluster and interact with each other to produce complex effects on human health. The term “exposome” was coined, analogous to the genome, to describe the totality of human environmental exposures throughout their lifetimes, of which pregnancy is a key period for exposome assessment. [ref.]

In a groundbreaking shift in understanding prenatal health, more and more scientists are now focusing on the “maternal environmental exposome” and its crucial impact on offspring development during prenatal and early postnatal periods, since it is one of the most vulnerable and determining periods during lifespan to offspring. This concept sheds light on how a mother’s exposure to various environmental factors can significantly affect the health of her unborn and newborn child. Unlike conventional studies concentrating on singular exposures, this holistic approach considers the intricate interplay and cumulative effects of diverse environmental factors on both mother and baby.

That is why at BiSC we are interested in the field of maternal environmental exposome with offspring health, a relatively new and vital area of research that brings innovation to the intersection of diseases and multiple environmental factors. As research in this field advances, it holds the promise of providing more effective guidelines or more sustainable and healthy cities for expectant mothers, ensuring a healthier start to life for the next generation. In our case, we mainly focus on identifying the most prominent factors from various environmental elements and exploring how maternal environmental factors play an important role in the development of health in offspring during early life. It is noteworthy that thanks to the contributions of the BiSC families, we have detailed information on a diverse range of exposures during early life, including air pollution, noise, physical activity, diet, stress, socioeconomic status, etc. Soon we will be able to analyze the data and then contribute to generating scientific evidence. We will keep you informed of the results once they come out!

This post has been written by Yana Luo and Yu Zhao, pre-doctoral students of the BiSC Project.