BACKGROUND: Metabolomics is a promising method to investigate physiological effects of chemical exposures during pregnancy, with the potential to clarify toxicological mechanisms, suggest sensitive endpoints, and identify novel biomarkers of exposures.
OBJECTIVE: Investigate the influence of chemical exposures on the maternal plasma metabolome during pregnancy.
METHODS: Data were obtained from participants (n = 177) in the New Hampshire Birth Cohort Study, a prospective pregnancy cohort. Chemical exposures were assessed via silicone wristbands worn for one week at ~13 gestational weeks. Metabolomic features were assessed in plasma samples obtained at ~24-28 gestational weeks via the Biocrates AbsoluteIDQ® p180 kit and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Associations between chemical exposures and plasma metabolomics were investigated using multivariate modeling.
RESULTS: Chemical exposures predicted 11 (of 226) and 23 (of 125) metabolomic features in Biocrates and NMR, respectively. The joint chemical exposures did not significantly predict pathway enrichment, though some individual chemicals were associated with certain amino acids and related metabolic pathways. For example, N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide was associated with the amino acids glycine, L-glutamic acid, L-asparagine, and L-aspartic acid and enrichment of the ammonia recycling pathway.
SIGNIFICANCE: This study contributes evidence to the potential effects of chemical exposures during pregnancy upon the endogenous maternal plasma metabolome.