Allan Just, PhD
Rosalind Wright, MD
Robert Wright, MD, MPH
In March 2017, P30 Center Member’s paper “Identifying sensitive windows for prenatal particulate air pollution exposure and mitochondrial DNA content in cord blood” was featured in NIEH’S Environmental Factor Papers of the Month. The study involved participants in the NIH-funded Programming Research in Obesity, Growth, Environment, and Social Stressors cohort in Mexico City. The researchers measured the mitochondrial DNA content of white blood cells in umbilical cord blood collected from mothers at delivery.
P30 Center Members found that increased prenatal exposure to particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) during a specific portion of the third trimester may increase oxidative stress and susceptibility to health effects mediated by white blood cells, such as infections and immune response to allergens. During this window in late pregnancy, increased exposure to PM2.5 air pollution was associated with lower mitochondrial DNA content in cord blood, a marker of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is an imbalance in the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to counteract their harmful effects. To read the full article click here.