Particles of polluted air detected in the placenta of pregnant women
Polluted air can directly harm unborn babies, scientists say, and they have evidence for it. This is because for the first time tiny soot particles were found to have made their way from the lungs into the placenta.
Researchers at Queen Mary University of London have found evidence of microscopic carbon particles entering the placenta. The results of their research were presented at an international conference on the chorus byob of the respiratory system in Paris.
The study involved five women after cesarean section. All were non-smoking London residents. London, like any major metropolitan area, is one of the places where air pollution exceeds acceptable limits, which studies have found can also affect unborn babies.
Scientists examined placentas obtained from five women and observed dark areas on them. Norrice Liu and Lise Miyashita – Members of Professor Jonathan Grieg’s research group – were most interested in macrophages located in the placenta. Comorks are responsible for removing toxic particles, whether bacteria or pollutants, and can be found throughout the body – not just in the placenta.
The project studied 3,500 macrophagesow. It turned out that each placenta contained an average of about 5 micrometersoin square of black substance, ktoThe researchers identified as carbon molecules. A total of 60 comorek with 72 small black areas between them on five placentas.
– We have long known that air pollution can affect the development ofoj fetuses and on children after birth. We wanted to see if these effects could be caused by particles of pollutants passing from the mother’s lungs to the placenta – Miyashita said.
Two placentas have been studied in more detailo³³ under the electron microscope. It helped to find even more of the same black substance.
In previous research teamoł scientistow used the same techniques to identify and measure soot particles in airway macrophages. Liu noted that most of the soot particles found on the placenta should be absorbed by macrophages in the respiratory tract. Especially the larger ones, only a small fraction of small particles are introduced into the circulation.
– Our results provide the first evidenceoin that inhaled pollutant particles can travel from the lungs to the circulation and then to the placenta. We do not know whether the particles we have discovered can roalso penetrate the fetus, but our data suggest that this is indeed possible – explained Liu. The researcher added that these molecules do not have to penetrate directly into the baby’s body to be harmful, as the mere interaction with the placenta has an effect on the płod.
This study was conducted on five bearings. It’s relatively small, but the discovery of carbon molecules in an organ so important to pregnancy could explain much of the problemoin health, including premature births, low birth weight and infant mortality, as well as childhood obesity, high blood pressure or respiratory problems.