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AIMS Environ Sci. 2015;2(2):353-373. Epub 2015 May 6.

Traffic-related air pollution and brain development.

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Davis School of Gerontology and the Dornsife College, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, 3715 McClintock Ave, Los Angeles CA 9009-0191, USA.


Automotive traffic-related air pollution (TRP) imposes an increasing health burden with global urbanization. Gestational and early child exposure to urban TRP is associated with higher risk of autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia, as well as low birth weight. While cardio-respiratory effects from exposure are well documented, cognitive effects are only recently becoming widely recognized. This review discusses effects of TRP on brain and cognition in human and animal studies. The mechanisms underlying these epidemiological associations are studied with rodent models of pre- and neonatal exposure to TRP, which show persisting inflammatory changes and altered adult behaviors and cognition. Some behavioral and inflammatory changes show male bias. Rodent models may identify dietary and other interventions for neuroprotection to TRP.


PM2.5; body weight; brain; inflammation; prenatal; traffic-related air pollution; ultrafine PM

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