Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Freeway air bad for mouse brain

07.04.2011
Study finds brain damage typical of aging and memory loss after short-term exposure to vehicle pollution

If mice commuted, their brains might find it progressively harder to navigate the maze of Los Angeles freeways.

A new study reveals that after short-term exposure to vehicle pollution, mice showed significant brain damage — including signs associated with memory loss and Alzheimer's disease.

The mind-numbing toxin is not an exhaust gas, but a mix of tiny particles from burning of fossil fuel and weathering of car parts and pavement, according to the study to be published Thursday, April 7 in the leading journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Many studies have drawn a link between vehicle pollution and health problems. This is the first to explore the physical effect of freeway pollution on brain cells.

The authors found a way to recreate air laden with freeway particulate matter inside the laboratory. Whether in a test tube or in live mice, brain cells showed similar responses:

Neurons involved in learning and memory showed significant damage,

The brain showed signs of inflammation associated with premature aging and Alzheimer's disease,

Neurons from developing mice did not grow as well.

The freeway particles measured between a few dozen to 200 nanometers — roughly one-thousandth the width of a human hair, and too small for car filtration systems to trap.

"You can't see them, but they are inhaled and have an effect on brain neurons that raises the possibility of long-term brain health consequences of freeway air," said senior author Caleb Finch, an expert in the effects of inflammation and holder of the ARCO/William F. Kieschnick Chair in the Neurobiology of Aging.

Co-author Constantinos Sioutas, of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, developed the unique technology for collecting freeway particulates in a liquid suspension and recreating polluted air in the laboratory. This made it possible to conduct a controlled study on cultured brain cells and live animals. (For all co-authors and access to the study after the embargo lifts: http://ehponline.org/article/info:doi/10.1289/ehp.1002973)

Exposure lasted a total of 150 hours, spread over 10 weeks, in three sessions per week lasting five hours each.

"Of course this leads to the question, 'How can we protect urban dwellers from this type of toxicity?' And that's a huge unknown," Finch said.

The authors hope to conduct follow-up studies on issues such as:

Memory functions in animals exposed to freeway particulates,

Effects on development of mice exposed prenatally,

Lifespan of exposed animals,

Interaction of particulates with other components of smog, such as heat and ozone,

Potential for recovery between periods of exposure,

Comparison of effects from artificially and naturally occurring nanoparticles,

Chemical interactions between freeway particulates and brain cells.
If further studies confirm that freeway particulates pose a human health hazard, solutions will be hard to find.

Even an all-electric car culture would not solve the problem on its own, Finch said.

"It would certainly sharply decrease the local concentration of nanoparticles, but then at present electrical generation still depends upon other combustion processes — coal — that in a larger environment contribute nanoparticles anyway.

"It's a long-term global project to reduce the amount of nanoparticles around the world. Whether we clean up our cars, we still have to clean up our power generation."

In addition to senior author Finch, the research team consisted of lead author Todd Morgan, a doctoral student in gerontology, with fellow student David Davis and research lab technician Nahoko Iwata; neuroscientist Michel Baudry and chemist Nicos Petasis of the USC Dornsife College, with students Jeremy Tanner, David Snyder, Yu-Tien Hsu and Jeremy Winkler; Sioutas, of the Viterbi School, with students Zhi Ning and Winnie Kam; and environmental health expert Jiu-Chiuan Chen, of the Keck School of Medicine.

Funding came through grants from USC's James H. Zumberge Faculty Research & Innovation Fund and the Ellison Medical Foundation.

For an embargoed, advance full-text copy of the paper or to arrange an interview with a researcher, contact Suzanne Wu at suzanne.wu@usc.edu.

Suzanne Wu | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>