Tiny levels of carbon monoxide damage fetal brain

A UCLA study has discovered that chronic exposure during pregnancy to miniscule levels of carbon monoxide damages the cells of the fetal brain, resulting in permanent impairment. The journal BMC (BioMed Central) Neuroscience published the findings June 22 in its online edition.

“We expected the placenta to protect fetuses from the mother's exposure to tiny amounts of carbon monoxide,” said John Edmond, professor emeritus of biological chemistry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “But we found that not to be the case.”

The researchers exposed pregnant rats to 25 parts per million carbon monoxide in the air, an exposure level established as safe by Cal/OSHA, California's division of occupational health and safety.

Dr. Ivan Lopez, UCLA associate professor of head and neck surgery, tested the rats' litters 20 days after birth. Rats born to animals who had inhaled the gas suffered chronic oxidative stress, a harmful condition caused by an excess of harmful free radicals or insufficient antioxidants.

“Oxidative stress damaged the baby rats' brain cells, leading to a drop in proteins essential for proper function,” said Lopez. “Oxidative stress is a risk factor linked to many disorders, including autism, cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Lou Gehrig's disease, multiple sclerosis and cardiovascular disease. We know that it exacerbates disease.”

“We believe that the minute levels of carbon monoxide in the mother rats' environment made their offspring more vulnerable to illness,” added Edmond. “Our findings highlight the need for policy makers to re-examine the regulation of carbon monoxide.”

Tobacco smoke, gas heaters, stoves and ovens all emit carbon monoxide, which can rise to high concentrations in well-insulated homes. Infants and children are particularly vulnerable to carbon monoxide exposure because they spend a great deal of time in the home.

No policies exist to regulate the gas in the home. Most commercial home monitors sound an alarm only hours after concentrations reaches 70 parts per million–nearly three times the 25 parts per million limit set by Cal/OSHA.

A grant from the University of California's Tobacco-related Disease Research Program supported the research.

Media Contact

Elaine Schmidt EurekAlert!

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.ucla.edu

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Studies and Analyses

innovations-report maintains a wealth of in-depth studies and analyses from a variety of subject areas including business and finance, medicine and pharmacology, ecology and the environment, energy, communications and media, transportation, work, family and leisure.

Zurück zur Startseite

Kommentare (0)

Schreib Kommentar

Neueste Beiträge

An artificial cell on a chip

Researchers at the University of Basel have developed a precisely controllable system for mimicking biochemical reaction cascades in cells. Using microfluidic technology, they produce miniature polymeric reaction containers equipped with…

Specific and rapid expansion of blood vessels

Nature Communications: KIT researchers identify a new mechanism to control endothelial cell size and arterial caliber – basis for better treatment of heart infarct and stroke. Upon a heart infarct…

Climate change drives plants to extinction in the Black Forest in Germany

Climate change is leaving its mark on the bog complexes of the German Black Forest. Due to rising temperatures and longer dry periods, two plant species have already gone extinct…

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close