The Adverse Effects of Air Pollution on the Nervous System

Department of Neuroscience, Health Science Institute, Dokuz Eylul University, Inciralti, 35340 Izmir, Turkey.
Journal of Toxicology 02/2012; 2012(4):782462. DOI: 10.1155/2012/782462
Source: PubMed


Exposure to ambient air pollution is a serious and common public health concern associated with growing morbidity and mortality worldwide. In the last decades, the adverse effects of air pollution on the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems have been well established in a series of major epidemiological and observational studies. In the recent past, air pollution has also been associated with diseases of the central nervous system (CNS), including stroke, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and neurodevelopmental disorders. It has been demonstrated that various components of air pollution, such as nanosized particles, can easily translocate to the CNS where they can activate innate immune responses. Furthermore, systemic inflammation arising from the pulmonary or cardiovascular system can affect CNS health. Despite intense studies on the health effects of ambient air pollution, the underlying molecular mechanisms of susceptibility and disease remain largely elusive. However, emerging evidence suggests that air pollution-induced neuroinflammation, oxidative stress, microglial activation, cerebrovascular dysfunction, and alterations in the blood-brain barrier contribute to CNS pathology. A better understanding of the mediators and mechanisms will enable the development of new strategies to protect individuals at risk and to reduce detrimental effects of air pollution on the nervous system and mental health.

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    • "These adverse associations have been extended to show the acceleration of cognitive decline of elderly communitybased populations12345and neurodevelopmental impairments of children[6,7]. The causes of cognitive impairment are being analyzed in rodent and cell models, which implicate neuroinflammatory responses to urban air pollutants891011. Specifically, we and others observed that the ultrafine size class of air pollution PM0.2 (<0.2 μm diameter) activated microglia and induced TNFα and IL-1, among other inflammatory responses[10,121314. "
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    ABSTRACT: The basis for air pollution-associated neurodegenerative changes in humans is being studied in rodent models. We and others find that the ultrafine particulate matter (PM) derived from vehicular exhaust can induce synaptic dysfunction and inflammatory responses in vivo and in vitro. In particular, a nano-sized subfraction of particulate matter (nPM, PM0.2) from a local urban traffic corridor can induce glial TNFα production in mixed glia (astrocytes and microglia) derived from neonatal rat cerebral cortex. Here, we examine the role of TNFα in neurite dysfunctions induced by nPM in aqueous suspensions at 12 μg/ml. First, we show that the proximal brain gateway to nPM, the olfactory neuroepithelium (OE), rapidly responds to nPM ex vivo, with induction of TNFα, activation of macrophages, and dendritic shrinkage. Cell interactions were further analyzed with mixed glia and neurons from neonatal rat cerebral cortex. Microglia contributed more than astrocytes to TNFα induction by nPM. We then showed that the threefold higher TNFα in conditioned media (nPM-CM) from mixed glia was responsible for the inhibition of neurite outgrowth by small interfering RNA (siRNA) TNFα knockdown and by TNFα immunoneutralization. Despite lack of TNFR1 induction by nPM in the OE, experimental blocking of TNFR1 by TNFα receptor blockers restored total neurite length. These findings implicate microglia-derived TNFα as a mediator of nPM in air pollution-associated neurodegenerative changes which alter synaptic functions and neuronal growth.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2016 · Journal of Neuroinflammation
    • "Air pollution from these mobile sources is more likely elevated in urban settings in low-income countries. Children, pregnant women, elderly, and people with pre-existing cardiovascular or respiratory conditions are more vulnerable to PM exposure than the general population (Gauderman et al., 2004; Wang et al., 2009; Anderson et al., 2011; Genc et al., 2012). A recent study in Bangladesh, a low-income country, revealed an increased risk of acute lower respiratory infections in children due to indoor PM exposure (Gurley et al., 2013; Gurley et al., 2014). "
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    ABSTRACT: Particulate matter (PM) contributes to an increased risk of respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, cancer, and preterm birth complications. This project assessed PM exposure in Eastern Indonesia's largest city, where air quality has not been comprehensively monitored. We examined the efficacy of wearing masks as an individual intervention effort to reduce in-transit PM exposures. Handheld particulate counters were used to investigate ambient air quality for spatial analysis, as well as the differences in exposure to PM2.5 and PM10 (μg/m(3)) by different transportation methods [e.g. motorcycle (n=97), pete-pete (n=53), and car (n=55); note: n=1 means 1m(3) of air sample]. Mask efficacy to reduce PM exposure was evaluated [e.g. surgical masks (n=39), bandanas (n=52), and motorcycle masks (n=39)]. A Monte Carlo simulation was used to provide a range of uncertainty in exposure assessment. Overall PM10 levels (91±124μg/m(3)) were elevated compared to the World Health Organization (WHO)'s 24-hour air quality guideline (50μg/m(3)). While average PM2.5 levels (9±14μg/m(3)) were below the WHO's guideline (25μg/m(3)), measurements up to 139μg/m(3) were observed. Compared to cars, average motorcycle and pete-pete PM exposures were four and three times higher for PM2.5, and 13 and 10 times higher for PM10, respectively. Only surgical masks were consistent in lowering PM2.5 and PM10 (p<0.01). Young children (≤5) were the most vulnerable age group, and could not reach the safe dosage even when wearing surgical masks. Individual interventions can effectively reduce individual PM exposures; however, policy interventions will be needed to improve the overall air quality and create safer transportation.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · Science of The Total Environment
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    • "Prenatal exposure to air pollutants may also constitute a risk factor for neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and neuropsychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia (Genc et al., 2012). There are also evidences suggesting that parental lead exposure is also responsible for lesions in the developing nervous system, causing impairment in newborn's motor and cognitive abilities (Kampa and Castanas, 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: This review introduces recent advances in an emerging research area that is focussed on studying the effect of exposure to vehicular emissions on cognition, with specific attention to children from urban environments. Today, air pollution is a global environmental issue, especially in urban environments, emitting particulate matter (PM), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) into the surroundings. The association of exposure to urban air pollution and cognitive disorders in children is a major cause of concern. We review recent findings associated with exposure to air pollutants and explained the potential mechanisms driving oxidative stress in living systems. An attempt has been made to investigate the cognitive effects of air pollutants leading to neurodegeneration, neurodysfunction, attention deficit/hypersensitivity deficiencies and autism in children. Accumulating evidence suggests that urban air pollution may have significant impact on central nervous system (CNS) of the developing brain.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Environmental Pollution
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