Metabolic Health Outcomes of Perinatal Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Present in Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids

Presentation Number: SAT 260
Date of Presentation: April 1st, 2017

Victoria D Balise*1, Jennifer N Cornelius-Green1, Sierra Baxter1, Chris Kassotis2, Chun-Xia Meng3, Susan Carol Nagel3, Randy S Rector1, John Thyfault4 and Paola Palanza5
1University of Missouri, 2Duke, Durham, NC, 3University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, 4University of Kansas Medical School, 5University of Parma


Hydraulic fracturing involves injection of pressurized water, chemicals, and suspended solids thousands of feet under the surface to release natural gas and oil. Over 1000 different chemicals have been reported to be used in this process and include known neurotoxins, carcinogens, and endocrine disruptors. Previously our lab has shown an association between oil and gas wastewater spills and an increase in endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) activity in surface and ground water. We have also shown antagonist activity in 23 of 24 oil and gas chemicals tested for estrogen, androgen, progesterone, glucocorticoid, and/or thyroid receptors. Developmental exposure to EDCs has been associated with a multitude of health effects in adulthood, including infertility and metabolic disease. We hypothesized that perinatal exposure to a mixture of 23 chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing would program the fetus and alter metabolism in adulthood. A lab made mixture of 23 hydraulic fracturing chemicals at equimass concentrations was administered via drinking water with 0.2% ethanol at a range of dosages (1.5 ug/kg/day, 15 ug/kg/day, 150 ug/kg/day, 15,000 ug/kg/day and a vehicle containing only 0.2% ethanol) to pregnant and lactating mice from gestation day 1 to postnatal day 21. Body weight, body composition, energy expenditure, spontaneous and exploratory activity, and glucose tolerance were examined in the offspring at 11 months of age before and after a high fat and high sugar diet.

Perinatal exposure to the mixture did not alter the response to high fat/high sugar diet. Following perinatal exposure to the oil and gas chemical mixture and the high fat high sugar diet, mice on average had 10% lower body weight, 8% more percent lean mass, and 22% less percent fat mass. The 1.5 ug/kg/day and 1500 ug/kg/day groups had a 63% increase in small adipocyte (<35 um in diameter) number. Developmental exposure was also associated with increased average energy expenditure, spontaneous activity (beam breaks) and total meters travelled during the light cycle. These changes may underlie the decrease in body weight and fat mass. Mice also had increased exploratory activity in the elevated plus maze. Perinatal exposure to the mixture was also associated with delayed recovery time after a glucose challenge. These results suggest the potential for developmental health outcomes related to metabolism in humans and animals exposed to oil and gas chemicals.


Nothing to Disclose: VDB, JNC, SB, CK, CXM, SCN, RSR, JT, PP