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Eur J Pediatr. 2011 May;170(5):645-51. doi: 10.1007/s00431-010-1338-9. Epub 2010 Oct 28.

Maternal active or passive smoking causes oxidative stress in placental tissue.

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  • 1Medical Faculty Pediatric Hematology Department, Harran University, 63200 Sanliurfa, Turkey.


The aim of this study was to assess the influence of active and passive maternal smoking on placenta total oxidant/antioxidant status in term infants. The levels of cord blood total antioxidant capacity (TAC), total oxidant status (TOS), and oxidative stress index (OSI) were measured in samples of fetal placental tissue, cord blood, and the maternal peripheral blood serum and from 19 mothers who were active smokers, 19 who were passive smokers, and 22 who were nonsmokers (not exposed to active or passive smoking). The pregnancies were between 37 and 40 weeks' gestation, were uncomplicated, and the infants were delivered vaginally. Birth weight and head circumference in the active smokers were significantly (P < 0.001) lower than those in the controls. Placenta, cord blood, and the maternal peripheral TAC levels were significantly lower in the active smokers compared with the controls (P < 0.001), while TOS and OSI levels were significantly higher in the active and passive smokers than in the controls (P < 0.001). A positive significant correlation was found between active maternal smoking and placenta TOS and OSI levels (P < 0.016), and a significant negative correlation was found between number of cigarettes exposed to and birthweight and head circumference (P < 0.05). In conclusion, active or passive maternal smoking is associated with important alterations in oxidant and antioxidant balance in fetal placental tissue and causes potent oxidative stress.

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