Germline mutation rates in mice following in utero exposure to diesel exhaust particles by maternal inhalation

Caitlin Ritz, Wojciech Ruminski, Karin S. Hougaard, Håkan Wallin, Ulla Birgitte Vogel, Carole L. Yauk

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The induction of inherited DNA sequence mutations arising in the germline (i.e., sperm or egg) of mice exposed in utero to diesel exhaust particles (DEPs) via maternal inhalation compared to unexposed controls was investigated in this study. Previous work has shown that particulate air pollutants (PAPs) from industrial environments cause DNA damage and mutations in the sperm of adult male mice. Effects on the female and male germline during critical stages of development (in utero) are unknown. In mice, previous studies have shown that expanded simple tandem repeat (ESTR) loci exhibit high rates of spontaneous mutation, making this endpoint a valuable tool for studying inherited mutation and genomic instability. In the present study, pregnant C57Bl/6 mice were exposed to 19mg/m3 DEP from gestational day 7 through 19, alongside air exposed controls. Male and female F1 offspring were raised to maturity and mated with control CBA mice. The F2 descendents were collected and ESTR germline mutation rates were derived from full pedigrees (mother, father, offspring) of F1 male and female mice. We found no evidence for increased ESTR mutation rates in females exposed in utero to DEP relative to control females. In contrast, a statistically significant increase in the mutation frequency of male mice exposed in utero to DEP was observed (2-fold; Fisher's exact p
Original languageEnglish
JournalMutation research
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)55-58
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Germline instability
  • Epigenetics
  • ESTRs
  • DEP

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