Prolonged exposure to air pollution leads to genetic changes in rat brains, study finds
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LOS ANGELES — May 8, 2018 — Prolonged exposure to particulate matter in air pollution in the Los Angeles Basin triggered inflammation and the appearance of cancer-related genes in the brains of rats, a Cedars-Sinai study has found.

While previous research has documented the association between air pollution and a variety of diseases, including cancer, the study found markers indicating certain materials in coarse air pollution–nickel, in particular–may play a role in genetic changes related to disease development, said Julia Ljubimova, MD, PhD.

Ljubimova, director of the Nanomedicine Research Center at Cedars-Sinai, is the lead author of the paper, published April 9 in Scientific Reports.

“This study, which looked at novel data gathered in the Los Angeles area, has significant implications for the assessment of air quality in the region, particularly as people are exposed to air pollution here for decades,” Ljubimova said.

The study found that coarse particulate matter in the region’s air pollution found its way into bodily systems in two ways: inhaled through the lungs, where trace metals and other materials enter the bloodstream and then the brain; and through the nose, where the materials are absorbed more directly into the brain.

“Cleaning the air in

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