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Jude Thornton

Jude Thornton

The University of Georgia
College of Veterinary Medicine
Class of 2021

Research Interests

Effects of prenatal programming on hypertension related genes in the brainstem

Jude Thornton, Josephine BouDagher, P.S. MohanKumar, and Sheba M.J. MohanKumar

Department of Veterinary Biosciences and Diagnostic Imaging, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Pregnant women are constantly exposed to a variety of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) such as bisphenol-A (BPA) and diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) during gestation. Exposure occurs because these EDCs are widely used to make plastics and are also found in other everyday items such as lotions or processed foods. Not only do these EDCs affect pregnant women, they are also known to cross the placental barrier, thus affecting the development of the fetus. The aim of this study was to understand how prenatal exposure to EDCs affects fetal programming, specifically of the cardiovascular-brain axis. In this study, pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to BPA (5 µg/Kg BW), DEHP (7.5 µg/Kg BW), and a combination of BPA and DEHP by oral gavage from gestation day 6 to 21. Offspring were then allowed to develop for four months, after which blood pressure measurements were obtained using radiotelemeters. Three months later, the offspring were sacrificed, brain stems removed, frozen and sectioned. The rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) was isolated and RNA was extracted using standard protocols. We are studying the impact of prenatal EDC exposure on the expression of a variety of genes associated with oxidative stress such as NOX2, TNF, SOD, Edn1 etc. We will correlate the changes in gene expression with changes in blood pressure. These results will provide clear evidence that exposure to either BPA, DEHP, or both have effects on prenatal programming that are detrimental to health of the offspring by negatively altering the cardiovascular-brain axis.

Research Grant: University of Georgia Research Foundation

Student Support: Boehringer Ingelheim, Veterinary Medical Experiment Station, UGA College of Veterinary Medicine

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