Air pollution may impact fetal cardiovascular system, Rutgers study says

March 11, 2019

Microscopic particles in air pollution inhaled by pregnant women may damage fetal cardiovascular development, according to a study by Rutgers researchers.

The study, published in the journal Cardiovascular Toxicology, found that early in the first trimester and late in the third trimester were critical windows during which pollutants most affect the mother's and fetus' cardiovascular systems.

"These findings suggest that pregnant women, women of child-bearing years who may be pregnant and those undergoing fertility treatments should avoid areas known for high air pollution or stay inside on high-smog days to reduce their exposure," said Phoebe Stapleton, assistant professor at Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and a faculty member at Rutgers Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute. "Pregnant women should also consider monitoring their indoor air quality."

What a mother inhales affects her circulatory system, which is constantly adapting to supply adequate blood flow to the fetus as it grows. Exposure to these pollutants can constrict blood vessels, restricting blood flow to the uterus and depriving the fetus of oxygen and nutrients, which can result in delayed growth and development. It can also lead to common pregnancy complications, such as intrauterine growth restriction.

The study looked at how the circulatory systems of pregnant rats and their fetuses were affected by a single exposure to nanosized titanium dioxide aerosols -- a surrogate for particles found in typical air pollution -- during their first, second and third trimesters. The results were compared to pregnant rats that were exposed only to high-efficiency filtered air.

The researchers found that exposures to pollutants early in gestation significantly impact a fetus's circulatory system, specifically the main artery and the umbilical vein. Later exposure had the most impact on fetal size since the restricted blood flow from the mother deprives the fetus of nutrients in this final stage.

In non-pregnant animals, even a single exposure to these nanoparticles has been linked to impaired function of the arteries in the uterus. The study found that one exposure late in pregnancy can restrict maternal and fetal blood flow, which can continue to affect the child into adulthood.

"Although nanotechnology has led to achievements in areas such as vehicle fuel efficiency and renewable energy, not much is known about how these particles affect people at all stages of development," said Stapleton.

By 2025, the annual global production of nanosize titanium dioxide particles is projected to reach 2.5 million metric tons. Besides representing the very small particles found in air pollution, titanium dioxide also is commonly used in many personal care products including sunscreens and face powders.
-end-


Rutgers University

Related Air Pollution Articles from Brightsurf:

How air pollution affects homeless populations
When air quality worsens, either from the smoke and ozone of summer or the inversion of winter, most of us stay indoors.

Exploring the neurological impact of air pollution
Air pollution has become a fact of modern life, with a majority of the global population facing chronic exposure.

Spotting air pollution with satellites, better than ever before
Researchers from Duke University have devised a method for estimating the air quality over a small patch of land using nothing but satellite imagery and weather conditions.

Exposure to air pollution during pregnancy is associated with growth delays
A new study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) has found an association between exposure to air pollution during pregnancy and delays in physical growth in the early years after birth.

Nearly half of US breathing unhealthy air; record-breaking air pollution in nine cities
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of air pollution on lung health is of heightened concern.

Air pollution linked to dementia and cardiovascular disease
People continuously exposed to air pollution are at increased risk of dementia, especially if they also suffer from cardiovascular diseases, according to a study at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the journal JAMA Neurology.

New framework will help decide which trees are best in the fight against air pollution
A study from the University of Surrey has provided a comprehensive guide on which tree species are best for combating air pollution that originates from our roads -- along with suggestions for how to plant these green barriers to get the best results.

Air pollution is one of the world's most dangerous health risks
Researchers calculate that the effects of air pollution shorten the lives of people around the world by an average of almost three years.

The world faces an air pollution 'pandemic'
Air pollution is responsible for shortening people's lives worldwide on a scale far greater than wars and other forms of violence, parasitic and insect-born diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and smoking, according to a study published in Cardiovascular Research.

Air pollution in childhood linked to schizophrenia
Children who grow up in areas with heavy air pollution have a higher risk of developing schizophrenia.

Read More: Air Pollution News and Air Pollution Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.