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Michigan State University

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Superfund Research Program

PCB Effects on Uterine Muscle

Project Leader: Rita Loch-Caruso (University of Michigan)
Grant Number: P42ES004911
Funding Period: 1995 - 2006

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Project Summary (2000-2006)

The overall objective of this project is to understand how polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) alter uterine contraction, in order to improve knowledge of the potential risks of PCBs to pregnant women and their offspring. PCBs are wide spread environmental contaminants to which pregnant women may be exposed. PCB exposure is associated with decreased gestation length in women. In animals, PCBs increase, decrease or have no effect on gestation length depending on the congener or mixture. The mechanism(s) that mediate PCB effects on parturition are unknown. To increase understanding of these mechanisms, researchers are studying selected PCBs that exhibit acute stimulatory or inhibitory activity in the pregnant uterus. Also, estrogenic PCBs are being studied to identify their long-term effects on uterine activity. By increasing our understanding of PCB actions in the pregnant uterus, the results from these experiments will contribute to improved assessment of risk to pregnant women and may explain previous reports that PCBs alter parturition.

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