Project at a Glance

Title: Effects of ultrafine particulate matter exposure in an animal model of neurodegenerative disease

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Cho, Arthur

Contractor: UC Los Angeles

Contract Number: 14-315

Research Program Area: Health & Exposure

Topic Areas: Health Effects of Air Pollution


Exposure to ambient particulate matter (PM) is known to be associated with increased cardiopulmonary morbidity and mortality; much less is known about impacts of PM exposure on the brain. The objectives of this study were to determine whether long-term exposure to ultrafine particulate matter (UFPM) from Irvine, California is associated with the following: neurodegenerative processes in a mouse model of Parkinson's disease (PD); accelerated progression of innate immune responses in the brain; and cognitive or behavioral deficits. Transgenic (PD model) and wild-type (control) animals were exposed to ultrafine concentrated ambient particles (CAPs) or filtered air for 22 weeks, followed by assessment of motor and cognitive behaviors. Chemical assays were then used to analyze the animals' post-mortem brains. Results showed significant adverse effects in a test of fine motor coordination and balance, both in transgenic and control animals, in response to CAPs exposure. However, no differences were seen between mouse strains or exposure treatments for three other behavior/cognition assays. There was a trend toward elevated pro-inflammatory marker IL-6 in the hippocampal brain region in CAPs-exposed animals (both strains), although the difference was not significant. No differences between mouse strains or treatments were seen for brain levels of the anti-inflammatory marker HO-1 or for the neurotransmitters dopamine or norepinephrine. These findings can be used to inform future studies of potential health impacts of PM exposures.

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

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