Rita Loch-Caruso, Project Leader, University of Michigan
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Limited studies relate adverse birth outcomes with exposure to Superfund-relevant toxicants. Although the etiology of preterm birth, intrauterine growth restriction, and other adverse birth outcomes are poorly understood, critical roles for infection, inflammation and oxidative stress are implicated. We are exploring the hypothesis that Superfund-related contaminants activate reactive oxygen species-sensitive pathways in gestational tissues to promote onset of parturition and thereby increase risk for preterm birth. By demonstrating that a common toxicological effect, oxidative stress, activates pathways associated with parturition, these data will provide evidence for a plausible biological explanation for environmental pollutant exposure associations with preterm birth.