Project at a Glance

Title: Persistent immune effects of wildfire PM exposure during childhood development

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Miller, Lisa

Contractor: UC Davis

Contract Number: 10-303

Research Program Area: Health & Exposure

Topic Areas: Health Effects of Air Pollution, Vulnerable Populations


The objective of this study was to determine the impact of early life episodic ozone and particulate matter (PM) exposure on parameters of immunity that affect responses to infectious disease and lung function. We investigated a cohort of 50 California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC) outdoor colony rhesus monkeys that were born within three months prior to the Trinity and Humboldt County wildfires of June/July 2008. We hypothesized that combined ozone and wildfire PM2.5 exposure during early life would result in detrimental effects on immunity and lung physiology. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a nonterminal and minimally invasive study in three-year old adolescent monkeys exposed to combined ozone and wildfire PM2.5 as infants by (1) evaluation of the peripheral blood response to microbial ligands and (2) measurement of lung mechanics. Compared with a cohort of 50 age-matched control monkeys, peripheral blood cells from exposed animals showed reduced cytokine synthesis when cultured with microbial ligands. Increased airways hyperresponsiveness and reduced lung compliance correlated with reduced peripheral blood cell cytokine synthesis in exposed female animals (less response to microbial challenge). We conclude that early life exposure to combined ozone and wildfire PM2.5 can result in immune and lung function decrements that persist with maturity. In addition, CNPRC rhesus monkeys could serve as biologic sentinels for chronic human health effects of ambient air pollution.

For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

Stay involved, sign up with CARB's Research Email Distribution List