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Early Postnatal Exposure to Ultrafine Particulate Matter Air Pollution: Persistent Ventriculomegaly, Neurochemical Disruption, and Glial Activation Preferentially in Male Mice

Environmental Health Perspectives (Impact Factor: 7.98). 06/2014; 122(9). DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1307984
Source: PubMed

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; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1307984

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Available from: Margot Mayer-Proschel, Jul 15, 2015
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    • "In particular, we studied nPM, which are a subfraction of urban PM2.5 ( " Methods " section) that epidemiological studies have associated with neurodevelopmental dysfunctions frompre-and early childhood exposure[37,38]. Rodent models include exposure of pregnant rats to nPM, which altered neonatal neuronal maturation[39]and exposure of early postnatal mice to ultrafine PM, which caused ventriculomegaly and glial activation[22]. For inflammatory responses, we focused on TNFα because of its consistent elevation in rodent models of air pollution[8,10,404142as well as in postmortem human brains from a highly polluted megacity[15]. In vitro activities of nPM include induction of TNFα in mixed glia from cerebral cortex and reduced neurotrophic support by the CM of mixed glia exposed to nPM[10]. "
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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.
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