Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Air Pollution and Lymphocyte Phenotype Proportions in Cord Blood

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Air Pollution and Lymphocyte Phenotype Proportions in Cord Blood

Article excerpt

Effects of air pollution on morbidity and mortality may be mediated by alterations in immune competence. In this study we examined short-term associations of air pollution exposures with lymphocyte immunophenotypes in cord blood among 1,397 deliveries in two districts of the Czech Republic. We measured fine particulate matter < 2.5 [micro]m in diameter (P[M.sub.2.5]) and 12 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in 24-hr samples collected by versatile air pollution samplers. Cord blood samples were analyzed using a FACSort flow cytometer to determine phenotypes of CD[3.sup.+] T-lymphocytes and their subsets CD[4.sup.+] and CD[8.sup.+], CD[19.sup.+] B-lymphocytes, and natural killer cells. The mothers were interviewed regarding sociodemographic and lifestyle factors, and medical records were abstracted for obstetric, labor and delivery characteristics. During the period 1994 to 1998, the mean daily ambient concentration of P[M.sub.2.5] was 24.8 [micro]g/[m.sup.3] and that of PAHs was 63.5 ng/[m.sup.3]. In multiple linear regression models adjusted for temperature, season, and other covariates, average PAH or P[M.sub.2.5] levels during the 14 days before birth were associated with decreases in T-lymphocyte phenotype fractions (i.e., CD[3.sup.+] CD[4.sup.+], and CD[8.sup.+]), and a clear increase in the B-lymphocyte (CD[19.sup.+]) fraction. For a 100-ng/[m.sup.3] increase in PAHs, which represented approximately two standard deviations, the percentage decrease was -3.3% [95% confidence interval (CI), -5.6 to -1.0%] for CD[3.sup.+], -3.1% (95% CI, -4.9 to -1.3%) for CD[4.sup.+], and -1.0% (95% CI, -1.8 to -0.2%) for CD[8.sup.+] cells. The corresponding increase in the CD[19.sup.+] cell proportion was 1.7% (95% CI, 0.4 to 3.0%). Associations were similar but slightly weaker for P[M.sub.2.5]. Ambient air pollution may influence the relative distribution of lymphocyte immunophenotypes of the fetus. Key words: air pollution, B-cell, cord blood, immune status, immunology, lymphocytes, natural killer cells, PAH, P[M.sub.10], pregnancy, T-cell.

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Early life is a potentially susceptible period for pollution-induced perturbation of the respiratory system (Braun-Fahrlander et al. 1997), DNA (Binkova et al. 1995), and possibly the immune system (Hertz-Picciotto et al. 2002). Disturbances during this developmental period may result in transient or irreversible long-term effects and may also provide models for examining the mechanisms by which air pollution may affect the entire population.

With regard to prenatal exposures, current evidence from several countries is compatible with small adverse effects of particulate matter (PM), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and/or other air pollutants on fetal growth, infant mortality, and duration of pregnancy (Dejmek et al. 1999, 2000; Glinianaia et al. 2004; Jedrychowski et al. 2004; Perera et al. 2003; Sram et al. 1999; Wang et al. 1997; Wilhelm and Ritz 2003). Ambient PAH exposure has also been linked to somatic mutations in newborns (Perera et al. 2002) and possibly to heritable genetic changes (Somerset al. 2004). Benzo[a]pyrcne (BaP)-DNA adducts were found to be substantially higher in cord blood compared with maternal blood samples from New York City residents (Perera et al. 2004).

A recent European study reported associations of PM with absolute numbers of B-cells, CD[4.sup.+] and CD[8.sup.+] T-cells, and natural killer (NK) cells in schoolchildren, after adjustment for numerous factors (Leonardi et al. 2000). In earlier work, we observed lower percentages of T-lymphocyte and higher NK cell percentages among residents of a polluted community, and among deliveries in winter, when air pollutant levels are highest (Hertz-Picciotto et al. 2002). Ambient PM pollution causes oxidative stress (Li et al. 2003) and may influence allergic (Diaz-Sanchez et al. 2003), immunologic (Burchiel et al. 2004), and systemic inflammatory responses (Li et al. …

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