ContextPhthalates may disrupt maternal-fetal-placental endocrine pathways, affecting pregnancy outcomes and child development. Placental corticotropin releasing hormone (pCRH) is critical for healthy pregnancy and child development, but understudied as a target of endocrine disruption.
ObjectiveTo examine phthalate metabolite concentrations (as mixtures and individually) in relation to pCRH.
DesignSecondary data analysis from a prospective cohort study.
SettingPrenatal clinics in Tennessee, USA.
Patients1018 pregnant women (61.4% non-Hispanic Black, 32% non-Hispanic White, 6.6% other) participated in the CANDLE study and provided data. Inclusion criteria included: low-medical-risk singleton pregnancy, age 16-40, and gestational weeks 16-29.
Main outcome measuresPlasma pCRH at two visits (mean gestational ages 23.0 and 31.8 weeks) and change in pCRH between visits (ΔpCRH).
ResultsIn weighted quantile sums (WQS) regression models, phthalate mixtures were associated with higher pCRH at Visit 1 (β = 0.07, 95 %CI: 0.02, 0.11) but lower pCRH at Visit 2 (β = -0.08, 95 %CI: -0.14, -0.02). In stratified analyses, among women with gestational diabetes (n = 59), phthalate mixtures were associated with lower pCRH at Visit 1 (β = -0.17, 95 %CI: -0.35, 0.0006) and Visit 2 (β = -0.35, 95 %CI: -0.50, -0.19), as well as greater ΔpCRH (β = 0.16, 95 %CI: 0.07, 0.25). Among women with gestational hypertension (n = 102), phthalate mixtures were associated with higher pCRH at Visit 1 (β = 0.20, 95 %CI: 0.03, 0.36) and Visit 2 (β = 0.42; 95 %CI: 0.19, 0.64) and lower ΔpCRH (β = -0.17, 95 %CI: -0.29, -0.06). Significant interactions between individual phthalate metabolites and pregnancy complications were observed.
ConclusionsPhthalates may impact placental CRH secretion, with differing effects across pregnancy. Differences in results between women with and without gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension suggest a need for further research examining whether women with pregnancy complications may be more vulnerable to endocrine-disrupting effects of phthalates.