A new mouse study by UCLA scientists reveals how exposure to traffic-related air pollutants causes cellular changes in the placenta that can lead to pregnancy complications and affect the health of both mother and child. offspring.
The researchers found that cellular changes caused by chronic exposure to air pollutants were linked to immune activation by foreign substances entering the bloodstream from the lungs. This immune response attacks some of the placental cells necessary for the structural maintenance of the placenta and, more importantly, blood flow from the mother to the developing baby.
Although previous research has analyzed the effect of air pollution on pregnancy, these studies did not use cell-specific methods or focus on the molecular signatures of the placenta. This study is the first to assess how such exposure can negatively affect the placenta, leading to adverse outcomes during pregnancy.
A group of female mice were exposed to environmental air pollutants through the nose starting two months before conception and during pregnancy, while the control group of mice were exposed to saline solution. At the end of the study, tissue samples indicated that inhaled air pollutants had compromised placental cell composition and molecular signatures. Researchers have also identified inflammation of the lining of the uterus triggered by pollution.
The placenta is essential for a successful pregnancy and for maintaining the health of mother and baby. These study results suggest that maternal immune cells may be responsible for the destruction of vital vascular cells in the placenta. This self-destruction of placental structures can disrupt the maintenance of a healthy pregnancy or at least affect the supply of nutrients from the mother to the baby, with the potential for adverse pregnancy consequences or outcomes such as premature labor or uteroplacental insufficiency encountered in pre-eclampsia. .
“The cellular changes we observed could provide the missing link between exposure to air pollutants and adverse pregnancy outcomes, helping to focus the development of preventive strategies for at-risk pregnancies,” said Dr Sherin Devaskar. , lead study author and physician. -Chief of UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital and Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.
The research also underscores the need to examine the timing of exposure and whether acute and chronic exposures have different effects. The authors also plan to study dietary interventions to alleviate distress on placental molecular signatures, nutrient intake, and development.
The collaborative study also involved Dr. Suhas G. Kallapur, Chief of Neonatology and Developmental Biology; Amit Ganguly, personal research associate; Shubhamoy Ghosh, PhD, project scientific assistant; Monica Cappelletti, PhD, adjunct assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, all four in the UCLA Department of Pediatrics-Neonatology; Matteo Pellegrini, professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at UCLA and Anela Tosevska, PhD, bioinformatics scientist in the division of rheumatology, internal medicine at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria.
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Materials provided by University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.