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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2004 Jun;58(2):267-72.

Increasing allergy potency of Zinnia pollen grains in polluted areas.

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Teacher Training University, Tehran, Iran.


There is much evidence that allergic symptoms represent a major health problem in polluted cities. The aim of this research is to elucidate some microscopic effects of air pollutants on pollen structure, proteins, and allergenicity. A scanning electron microscopy study of pollen grains indicated that in polluted areas, airborne particles accumulate on the surface of pollen grains and change the shape and tectum of pollen. Also, many vesicles are released from polluted pollen grains and the pollen material agglomerates on the surface of pollen grains. SDS-PAGE revealed that different proteins exist in mature and immature pollen grains. There were no significant differences between protein bands of polluted and nonpolluted pollen grains, but in polluted pollen, protein content decreases in response to air pollution, causing the release of pollen proteins. The results indicate that mature pollen have more allergenicity than immature pollen. According to the experiments polluted pollen grains are more effective than nonpolluted pollen grains in inducing allergic symptoms. Air pollutants can cause allergic symptoms, but when associated with allergen pollen grains, their allergenicity power is increased.

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