Intrauterine determinants of offspring health and reproductive disease
Environmental cues during pregnancy can have a profound impact on the growth and development of offspring both before birth and in later life.
Here at The University of Nottingham, we are home to a specialist team of researchers studying a range of factors which can affect the fetus during pregnancy. They’re also exploring the long-term consequences of these factors on offspring health.
A particular focus for the group is the potential impact of diet and endocrine disrupting chemicals on the future reproductive performance of both the adult and the offspring.
Environmental pollutants and reproductive development
Our researchers are investigating the effects of environmental pollutants on reproductive development. They are using sheep and dog models to monitor possible human exposure, using them as sentinel species to indicate the potential risks posed to human reproductive health.
Ovine models have demonstrated that the exposure of pregnant ewes to real-life mixtures of chemicals resulted in offspring with striking alterations in their reproductive capacity. Meanwhile, in the dog, our researchers have demonstrated a significant decline in canine sperm quality, which may also be associated with environmental contaminant exposure.
This decline was observed in stud dogs at an assistance-dogs breeding centre over the course of 26 years, and was accompanied by an increased incidence of undescended testes in their male pups.
Read our press release on agricultural fertiliser and its risk to human fertility.