Hearing loss in DES grandchildren ; a transgenerational effect ?

Limb reduction defects in the first generation and deafness in the second generation of intrauterine exposed fetuses to diethylstilbestrol

2003 Study Abstract

Maternal treatment with diethylstilbestrol (DES) during pregnancy can produce vaginal adenocarcinoma and other abnormalities of the vagina in her daughters when they reach adolescence or adulthood, miscarriages and absence of full term infants. Concerning malformations in newborns whose mothers were treated with DES, clitoromegaly and malformations of the uterus were reported in females and genital lesions in males. However, the frequencies of major congenital anomalies were not greater than expected.

We report

  • three cases of limb reduction defects (LRD) in the first generation of children whose mothers were treated with DES during pregnancy,
  • and two children (one male, one female) with deafness in the second generation after intrauterine exposure to DES.

The LRD were not associated with other congenital anomalies. The malformed children with LRD were born between 1965 and 1973. The deafness was also isolated. The two mothers who have no hearing problems and who are healthy were exposed in utero to DES in 1963 and 1965, respectively. Their children were born in 1989 and 1994, respectively.

In conclusion, the association of LRD and hearing loss with intrauterine exposure to DES could be coincidental. However, some hypothesis may explain these associations. Congenital hearing loss in the second generation may suggest a transgenerational effect.

Sources

  • Limb reduction defects in the first generation and deafness in the second generation of intrauterine exposed fetuses to diethylstilbestrol, Annales de genetique, NCBI PubMed, PMID: 14659782, 2003 Oct-Dec.
  • Featured image credit sciencedirect.
DES DIETHYLSTILBESTROL RESOURCES

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