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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(1), 257; doi:10.3390/ijms19010257

Maternal Exposure to PM2.5 during Pregnancy Induces Impaired Development of Cerebral Cortex in Mice Offspring

Experimental Center for Medical Research, Weifang Medical University, Weifang 261053, China
School of Clinical Medicine, Weifang Medical University, Weifang 261053, China
School of Public Health and Management, Weifang Medical University, Weifang 261053, China
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 3 January 2018 / Accepted: 12 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Toxicology)
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Air pollution is a serious environmental health problem closely related to the occurrence of central nervous system diseases. Exposure to particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than or equal to 2.5 µm (PM2.5) during pregnancy may affect the growth and development of infants. The present study was to investigate the effects of maternal exposure to PM2.5 during pregnancy on brain development in mice offspring. Pregnant mice were randomly divided into experimental groups of low-, medium-, or high-dosages of PM2.5, a mock-treated group which was treated with the same amount of phosphate buffer solution (PBS), and acontrol group which was untreated. The ethology of offspring mice on postnatal days 1, 7, 14, 21, and 30, along with neuronal development and apoptosis in the cerebral cortex were investigated. Compared with the control, neuronal mitochondrial cristae fracture, changed autophagy characteristics, significantly increased terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) positive cell rate, and mRNA levels of apoptosis-related caspase-8 and caspase-9 were found in cerebral cortex of mice offspring from the treatment groups, with mRNA levels of Bcl-2 and ratio of Bcl-2 to Bax decreased. Treatment groups also demonstrated enhanced protein expressions of apoptosis-related cleaved caspase-3, cleaved caspase-8 and cleaved caspase-9, along with declined proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), Bcl-2, and ratio of Bcl-2 to Bax. Open field experiments and tail suspension experiments showed that exposure to high dosage of PM2.5 resulted in decreased spontaneous activities but increased static accumulation time in mice offspring, indicating anxiety, depression, and social behavioral changes. Our results suggested that maternal exposure to PM2.5 during pregnancy might interfere with cerebral cortex development in mice offspring by affecting cell apoptosis. View Full-Text
Keywords: PM2.5; offspring; cerebral cortex; caspase-3 PM2.5; offspring; cerebral cortex; caspase-3

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Zhang, T.; Zheng, X.; Wang, X.; Zhao, H.; Wang, T.; Zhang, H.; Li, W.; Shen, H.; Yu, L. Maternal Exposure to PM2.5 during Pregnancy Induces Impaired Development of Cerebral Cortex in Mice Offspring. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 257.

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