Developmental Exposure to Concentrated Ambient Ultrafine Particulate Matter Air Pollution in Mice Results in Persistent and Sex-Dependent Behavioral Neurotoxicity and Glial Activation

Toxicological Sciences (Impact Factor: 3.85). 04/2014; 140(1). DOI: 10.1093/toxsci/kfu059
Source: PubMed


The brain appears to be a target of air pollution. This study aimed to further ascertain behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms of our previously observed preference for immediate reward (Allen et al., 2013), a phenotype consistent with impulsivity, in mice developmentally exposed to inhaled ultrafine particles. It examined the impact of postnatal and/or adult concentrated ambient ultrafine particles (CAPS) or filtered air on another behavior thought to reflect impulsivity, Fixed Interval (FI) schedule-controlled performance, and extended the assessment to learning/memory (novel object recognition (NOR)), and locomotor activity to assist in understanding behavioral mechanisms of action. In addition, levels of brain monoamines and amino acids, and markers of glial presence and activation (GFAP, IBA-1) were assessed in mesocorticolimbic brain regions mediating these cognitive functions. This design produced 4 treatment groups/sex of postnatal/adult exposure: Air/Air, Air/CAPS, CAPS/Air, and CAPS/CAPS. FI performance was adversely influenced by CAPS/Air in males, but by Air/CAPS in females, effects that appeared to reflect corresponding changes in brain mesocorticolimbic dopamine/glutamate systems that mediate FI performance. Both sexes showed impaired short-term memory on the NOR. Mechanistically, cortical and hippocampal changes in amino acids raised the potential for excitoxicity, and persistent glial activation was seen in frontal cortex and corpus callosum of both sexes. Collectively, neurodevelopment and/or adulthood CAPS can produce enduring and sex-dependent neurotoxicity. While mechanisms of these effects remain to be fully elucidated, findings suggest that neurodevelopment and/or adulthood air pollution exposure may represent a significant underexplored risk factor for CNS diseases/disorders and thus a significant public health threat even beyond current appreciation.

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Available from: Deborah A Cory-Slechta, Dec 27, 2015
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    • "Exposure characteristics for the PND270 group were similar to those for the PND14 and PND55 groups. Details have been reported previously (Allen et al. 2014b). To preclude litter-specific effects, in the present study we used only one pup per sex per litter per time point. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Air pollution has been associated with adverse neurological and behavioral health effects in children and adults. Recent studies link air pollutant exposure to adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes, including increased risk for autism, cognitive decline, ischemic stroke, schizophrenia, and depression. Objectives: We sought to investigate the mechanism(s) by which exposure to ultrafine concentrated ambient particles (CAPs) adversely influences central nervous system (CNS) development. Methods: We exposed C57BL6/J mice to ultrafine (< 100 nm) CAPs using the Harvard University Concentrated Ambient Particle System or to filtered air on postnatal days (PNDs) 4–7 and 10–13, and the animals were euthanized either 24 hr or 40 days after cessation of exposure. Another group of males was exposed at PND270, and lateral ventricle area, glial activation, CNS cytokines, and monoamine and amino acid neurotransmitters were quantified. Results: We observed ventriculomegaly (i.e., lateral ventricle dilation) preferentially in male mice exposed to CAPs, and it persisted through young adulthood. In addition, CAPs-exposed males generally showed decreases in developmentally important CNS cytokines, whereas in CAPs-exposed females, we observed a neuroinflammatory response as indicated by increases in CNS cytokines. We also saw changes in CNS neurotransmitters and glial activation across multiple brain regions in a sex-dependent manner and increased hippocampal glutamate in CAPs-exposed males. Conclusions: We observed brain region– and sex-dependent alterations in cytokines and neurotransmitters in both male and female CAPs-exposed mice. Lateral ventricle dilation (i.e., ventriculomegaly) was observed only in CAPs-exposed male mice. Ventriculomegaly is a neuropathology that has been associated with poor neurodevelopmental outcome, autism, and schizophrenia. Our findings suggest alteration of developmentally important neurochemicals and lateral ventricle dilation may be mechanistically related to observations linking ambient air pollutant exposure and adverse neurological/neurodevelopmental outcomes in humans. Citation: Allen JL, Liu X, Pelkowski S, Palmer B, Conrad K, Oberdörster G, Weston D, Mayer-Pröschel M, Cory-Slechta DA. 2014. Early postnatal exposure to ultrafine particulate matter air pollution: persistent ventriculomegaly, neurochemical disruption, and glial activation preferentially in male mice. Environ Health Perspect 122:939–945;
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