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Neurotoxicology. 2005 Jan;26(1):133-40.

Particulate matter in polluted air may increase biomarkers of inflammation in mouse brain.

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Department of Community and Environmental Medicine, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-1825, USA.


The etiology of neurodegenerative disorders is at present unknown. However, many of these disorders are associated with an increase in oxidative and inflammatory events. Although a small percentage of these disorders are familial cases linked to specific genetic defects, most are idiopathic. Thus, environmental factors are thought to play an important role in the onset and progression of such disorders. We have demonstrated that exposure (4 h, 5 days per week for 2 weeks) to concentrated airborne particulate matter increases inflammatory indices in brain of ovalbumin-sensitized BALB/c mice. Animals were divided into three exposure groups: filtered air (control), ultrafine particles, or fine and ultrafine particles. The levels of proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1alpha) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) were increased in brain tissue of mice exposed to particulate matter compared to that of control animals. Levels of the immune-related transcription factor NF-kappaB were also found to be substantially elevated in the brain of exposed groups compared with the control group. These data indicate that components of inhaled particulate matter may trigger a proinflammatory response in nervous tissue that could contribute to the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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