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Challenges 2018, 9(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe9020042

Environmental Impact on Health across Generations: Policy Meets Biology. A Review of Animal and Human Models

1
Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen, 5018 Bergen, Norway
2
Division of Experimental Asthma Research, Research Center Borstel, Leibniz-Center for Medicine and Biosciences, Member of the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), 23845 Borstel, Germany
3
Human Development & Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
4
Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine and Division of Immunology, University of Cape Town 7925, South Africa & South African Medical Research Council, Tygerberg 7505, South Africa
5
Institute of Microbiology and Infection, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
6
Laboratory of Molecular and Experimental Immunology and Neuro-genetics, UMR 7355, CNRS-University of Orleans and Le Studium Institute for Advanced Studies, Rue Dupanloup, 45000 Orléans, France
7
Institute for Experimental Medicine, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, 24118 Kiel, Germany
8
Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen, 5021 Bergen, Norway
9
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Haukeland University Hospital, 5053 Bergen, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 October 2018 / Revised: 7 December 2018 / Accepted: 10 December 2018 / Published: 11 December 2018
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Abstract

Intrauterine and early life has been accepted as important susceptibility windows for environmental exposure and disease later in life. Emerging evidence suggests that exposure before conception may also influence health in future generations. There has been little research on human data to support this until now. This review gives evidence from epigenetic as well as immunologic research, and from animal as well as human models, supporting the hypothesis that there may be important susceptibility windows before conception in relation to exposure such as obesity, diet, smoking and infections. It is likely that we can identify vulnerability windows in men and women in which interventions may have an impact on several generations in addition to individual health. Establishing vulnerability windows affecting health over future generations, and not only in the now or the near future of the individual, may provide tremendous opportunities for health policy and practice. View Full-Text
Keywords: asthma; epigenetics; environment; immunology; intergenerational; transgenerational; susceptibility windows asthma; epigenetics; environment; immunology; intergenerational; transgenerational; susceptibility windows
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Lønnebotn, M.; El-Merhie, N.; Holloway, J.W.; Horsnell, W.; Krauss-Etschmann, S.; Gómez Real, F.; Svanes, C. Environmental Impact on Health across Generations: Policy Meets Biology. A Review of Animal and Human Models. Challenges 2018, 9, 42.

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