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Environ Pollut. 2018 Oct;241:279-288. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.05.047. Epub 2018 May 22.

In utero exposure to fine particulate matter results in an altered neuroimmune phenotype in adult mice.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Grand Forks, ND, USA.
Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute and Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, OH, USA; College of Nursing, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
Department of Neurology, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 855 Monroe Avenue, Suite 415, Memphis, TN, USA.
Department of Biomedical Sciences, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Grand Forks, ND, USA. Electronic address:


Environmental exposure to air pollution has been linked to a number of health problems including organ rejection, lung damage and inflammation. While the deleterious effects of air pollution in adult animals are well documented, the long-term consequences of particulate matter (PM) exposure during animal development are uncertain. In this study we tested the hypothesis that environmental exposure to PM 2.5 μm in diameter in utero promotes long term inflammation and neurodegeneration. We evaluated the behavior of PM exposed animals using several tests and observed deficits in spatial memory without robust changes in anxiety-like behavior. We then examined how this affects the brains of adult animals by examining proteins implicated in neurodegeneration, synapse formation and inflammation by western blot, ELISA and immunohistochemistry. These tests revealed significantly increased levels of COX2 protein in PM2.5 exposed animal brains in addition to changes in synaptophysin and Arg1 proteins. Exposure to PM2.5 also increased the immunoreactivity for GFAP, a marker of activated astrocytes. Cytokine concentrations in the brain and spleen were also altered by PM2.5 exposure. These findings indicate that in utero exposure to particulate matter has long term consequences which may affect the development of both the brain and the immune system in addition to promoting inflammatory change in adult animals.


Air pollution; COX2; Neuroinflammation; PM2.5

[Available on 2019-10-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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