Abstract Title:

Air pollution from traffic during pregnancy impairs newborn's cord blood immune cells: The NELA cohort.

Abstract Source:

Environ Res. 2020 Nov 17:110468. Epub 2020 Nov 17. PMID: 33217431

Abstract Author(s):

Azahara M García-Serna, Trinidad Hernández-Caselles, Pedro Jiménez-Guerrero, Elena Martín-Orozco, Virginia Pérez-Fernández, Esther Cantero-Cano, María Muñoz-García, Carmen Ballesteros-Meseguer, Irene Pérez de Los Cobos, Luis García-Marcos, Eva Morales,

Article Affiliation:

Azahara M García-Serna


BACKGROUND: Hazards of traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) on the developing immune system are poorly understood. We sought to investigate the effects of prenatal exposure to TRAP on cord blood immune cell distributions; and to identify gestational windows of susceptibility.

METHODS: In-depth immunophenotyping of cord blood leukocyte and lymphocyte subsets was performed by flow cytometry in 190 newborns embedded in the Nutrition in Early Life and Asthma (NELA) birth cohort (2015-2018). Long-term (whole pregnancy and trimesters) and short-term (15-days before delivery) residential exposures to traffic-related nitrogen dioxide (NO), particulate matter (PMand PM), and ozone (O) were estimated using dispersion/chemical transport modelling. Associations between TRAP concentrations and cord blood immune cell counts were assessed using multivariate Poisson regression models.

RESULTS: Mean number of natural killer (NK) cells decreased 15% in relation to higher NOconcentrations (≥36.4 μg/m3) during whole pregnancy (incidence relative risk (IRR), 0.85; 95% CI, 0.72, 0.99), with stronger associations in the first trimester. Higher PMconcentrations (≥13.3 μg/m) during whole pregnancy associated with a reduced mean number of cytotoxic T cells (IRR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.78, 0.99). Newborns exposed to higher PM(≥23.6 μg/m) and PMconcentrations during the first and third trimester showed greater mean number of helper T type 1 (Th1) cells (P < 0.05). Decreased number of regulatory T (Treg) cells was associated with greater short-term NO(IRR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.80, 1.01) and PM(IRR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.77, 0.99) concentrations.

CONCLUSIONS: Prenatal exposure to TRAP, particularly in early and late gestation, impairs fetal immune system development through disturbances in cord blood leukocyte and lymphocyte distributions.

Study Type : Human Study

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