Newborn metabolomic signatures of maternal per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance exposure and reduced length of gestation

Marginalized populations experience disproportionate rates of preterm birth and early term birth. Exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has been reported to reduce length of gestation, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. In the present study, we characterized the molecular signatures of prenatal PFAS exposure and gestational age at birth outcomes in the newborn dried blood spot metabolome among 267 African American dyads in Atlanta, Georgia between 2016 and 2020. Pregnant people with higher serum perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid concentrations had increased odds of an early birth. After false discovery rate correction, the effect of prenatal PFAS exposure on reduced length of gestation was associated with 8 metabolomic pathways and 52 metabolites in newborn dried blood spots, which suggested perturbed tissue neogenesis, neuroendocrine function, and redox homeostasis. These mechanisms explain how prenatal PFAS exposure gives rise to the leading cause of infant death in the United States. Find JPB Fellow Stephanie Eick et. al. full article here.