Special Issue "Prenatal Exposure to Toxics and Risks in Infants"

A special issue of Toxics (ISSN 2305-6304). This special issue belongs to the section "Toxicology and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Anna M. Lavezzi

“Lino Rossi -Research Center for the study and prevention of sudden perinatal death and SIDS"- Department of Biomedical, Surgical and Dental Sciences, University of Milan, 20133 Milan, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +39-02/50320821
Fax: +39-02/50320823
Interests: neuropathology; SIDS; SIUDS; risk factors
Guest Editor
Dr. Hui Chen

School of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Technology Sydney Broadway, NSW, Australia
E-Mail
Interests: fetal programming, maternal obesity, maternal smoking, maternal e-vaping, oxidative stress, inflammation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There is growing concerns about the toxic chemicals that, every year, are released into the air, as they can severely affect human health. In particular, prenatal exposure to harmful chemicals, such as tobacco smoke, air pollution, pesticides, etc., can have detrimental impacts on the course of pregnancy as well as children’s lives. In addition to preterm birth and low birth weight, numerous postnatal disorders, such as defective maturation of the lung, substratum of frequent inflammatory and allergic respiratory diseases, neurological pathologies, plausibly due to developmental abnormalities of the cerebral cortex, and many other diseases in infancy, seem to be of fetal origin and are associated to environmental pollutants. Even a possible relation between exposure to toxics and sudden intrauterine unexplained death syndrome (SIUDS) and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) has been proposed.

The aim of this Special Issue is to collect innovative approaches that can highlight:

  1. which exogenous risk factors are able to alter so seriously the intrauterine environment to cause troubles in infancy
  2. which diseases in the first years of life can be recognized as being of intrauterine origin as a consequence of prenatal exposure to toxics. The advantages deriving from a better understanding of the pathogenetic mechanism leading to these pathologies are certainly significant and useful for planning specific prevention strategies.

Authors are encouraged to submit original research articles aimed to widen the current knowledge on this field. Submissions of hypotheses, opinions and commentaries are also welcome. 

Prof. Anna M. Lavezzi
Dr. Hui Chen
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxics is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • risk factors
  • air pollutants
  • smoking
  • fetuses
  • infants
  • SIDS
  • SIUDS

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Premature Puberty and Thimerosal-Containing Hepatitis B Vaccination: A Case-Control Study in the Vaccine Safety Datalink
Received: 11 October 2018 / Revised: 1 November 2018 / Accepted: 10 November 2018 / Published: 15 November 2018
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Abstract
Studies suggest a relationship between exposure to endocrine disrupters, such as mercury (Hg), and premature puberty. Hg exposure from Thimerosal-containing hepatitis B vaccine, administered at specific intervals within the first six months of life, and the child’s long-term risk of being diagnosed with
[...] Read more.
Studies suggest a relationship between exposure to endocrine disrupters, such as mercury (Hg), and premature puberty. Hg exposure from Thimerosal-containing hepatitis B vaccine, administered at specific intervals within the first six months of life, and the child’s long-term risk of being diagnosed with premature puberty (ICD-9 code: 259.1), was retrospectively examined, using a hypothesis-testing, longitudinal case-control design on prospectively collected data, in the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD). Cases diagnosed with premature puberty were significantly more likely to have received increased exposure to Hg from hepatitis B vaccines preserved with Thimerosal given in the first month after birth (odds ratio (OR) = 1.803), first two months after birth (OR = 1.768), and first six months after birth (OR = 2.0955), compared to control subjects. When the data were separated by gender, the effects remained among females but not males. Female cases, as compared to female controls, were significantly more likely in a dose-dependent manner to have received a greater exposure to Hg from hepatitis B vaccines preserved with Thimerosal, given in the first six months after birth (OR = 1.0281 per µg Hg). The results of this study show a dose-dependent association between increasing organic Hg exposure from Thimerosal-containing hepatitis B vaccines administered within the first six months of life and the long-term risk of the child being diagnosed with premature puberty. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prenatal Exposure to Toxics and Risks in Infants)
Open AccessArticle Toxic Effect of Cigarette Smoke on Brainstem Nicotinic Receptor Expression: Primary Cause of Sudden Unexplained Perinatal Death
Received: 30 August 2018 / Revised: 26 September 2018 / Accepted: 16 October 2018 / Published: 18 October 2018
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Abstract
Among the neurotoxicants contained in tobacco smoke, if absorbed during pregnancy, nicotine significantly affects α7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, which play essential roles in the development of the brainstem regions receiving cholinergic projections in perinatal life. Immunohistochemical procedures for analysing formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded brainstem samples
[...] Read more.
Among the neurotoxicants contained in tobacco smoke, if absorbed during pregnancy, nicotine significantly affects α7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, which play essential roles in the development of the brainstem regions receiving cholinergic projections in perinatal life. Immunohistochemical procedures for analysing formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded brainstem samples from 68 fetuses and early newborns, with smoking and non-smoking mothers, who died of known and unknown causes, were carried out in order to determine if nicotine had activated the α7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. High α7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor expression levels were only observed in the victims with smoking mothers. Frequently, these findings were associated with the hypoplasia of the brainstem structures controlling vital functions. The results of this study indicate that the exposition to nicotine in pregnancy exerts a strong direct effect on α7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor activity especially in perinatal life and may be one of the primary risk factors leading to the sudden unexplained death of fetuses and newborns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prenatal Exposure to Toxics and Risks in Infants)
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Open AccessArticle Aldehydes in Exhaled Breath during E-Cigarette Vaping: Pilot Study Results
Received: 6 June 2018 / Revised: 1 August 2018 / Accepted: 3 August 2018 / Published: 7 August 2018
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Abstract
Several studies have shown the presence of aldehydes (i.e., formaldehyde, acrolein) in mainstream emissions of some e-cigarettes. For this reason, concerns have been raised regarding potential toxicity. The purpose of this research was to measure levels of carbonyls in exhaled breath of e-cigarette
[...] Read more.
Several studies have shown the presence of aldehydes (i.e., formaldehyde, acrolein) in mainstream emissions of some e-cigarettes. For this reason, concerns have been raised regarding potential toxicity. The purpose of this research was to measure levels of carbonyls in exhaled breath of e-cigarette users during “vaping” sessions and estimate the respiratory tract (RT) uptake of specific aldehydes, including formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. We measured concentrations of 12 carbonyls in e-cigarette aerosols produced directly by e-cigarettes and in the exhaled breath of 12 participants (19 sessions). Carbonyls were sampled on 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine (DNPH) cartridges and analyzed with high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with a UV/Vis photodiode detector. We found that in most cases, levels of aldehydes and methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) were significantly higher (2–125 times) in exhaled e-cigarette breaths than in pre-exposed breath. Exposure levels for the most abundant individual carbonyls in e-cigarette emissions—formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein—were between the limit of quantification (LOQ) and 24.4 μg·puff−1. The mean retention of formaldehyde in the respiratory tract was 99.7 ± 0.9% for all participants, while acetaldehyde retention was 91.6 ± 9.9%. Within the limitation of a small number of participants, our results showed that there is an increase in breath carbonyls during e-cigarette use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prenatal Exposure to Toxics and Risks in Infants)
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Open AccessArticle Prenatal Exposure to Ambient Pesticides and Preterm Birth and Term Low Birthweight in Agricultural Regions of California
Received: 24 June 2018 / Revised: 17 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract
Findings from studies of prenatal exposure to pesticides and adverse birth outcomes have been equivocal so far. We examined prenatal exposure to agricultural pesticides in relation to preterm birth and term low birthweight, respectively, in children born between 1998 and 2010, randomly selected
[...] Read more.
Findings from studies of prenatal exposure to pesticides and adverse birth outcomes have been equivocal so far. We examined prenatal exposure to agricultural pesticides in relation to preterm birth and term low birthweight, respectively, in children born between 1998 and 2010, randomly selected from California birth records. We estimated residential exposure to agriculturally applied pesticides within 2 km of residential addresses at birth by pregnancy trimester for 17 individual pesticides and three chemical classes (organophosphates, pyrethroids, and carbamates). Among maternal addresses located within 2 km of any agricultural pesticide application, we identified 24,693 preterm and 220,297 term births, and 4412 term low birthweight and 194,732 term normal birthweight infants. First or second trimester exposure to individual pesticides (e.g., glyphosates, paraquat, imidacloprid) or exposure to 2 or more pesticides in the three chemical classes were associated with a small increase (3–7%) in risk for preterm birth; associations were stronger for female offspring. We did not find associations between term low birthweight and exposure to pesticides other than myclobutanil (OR: 1.11; 95% CI: 1.04–1.20) and possibly the pyrethroids class. Our improved exposure assessment revealed that first and second trimester exposure to pesticides is associated with preterm delivery but is rarely linked with term low birthweight. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prenatal Exposure to Toxics and Risks in Infants)
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Impact of Maternal Air Pollution Exposure on Children’s Lung Health: An Indian Perspective
Toxics 2018, 6(4), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics6040068 (registering DOI)
Received: 28 August 2018 / Revised: 10 November 2018 / Accepted: 12 November 2018 / Published: 16 November 2018
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Abstract
Air pollution has become an emerging invisible killer in recent years and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality globally. More than 90% of the world’s children breathe toxic air every day. India is among the top ten most highly polluted countries
[...] Read more.
Air pollution has become an emerging invisible killer in recent years and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality globally. More than 90% of the world’s children breathe toxic air every day. India is among the top ten most highly polluted countries with an average PM10 level of 134 μg/m3 per year. It is reported that 99% of India’s population encounters air pollution levels that exceed the World Health Organization Air Quality Guideline, advising a PM2.5 permissible level of 10 μg/m3. Maternal exposure to air pollution has serious health outcomes in offspring because it can affect embryonic phases of development during the gestation period. A fetus is more prone to effects from air pollution during embryonic developmental phases due to resulting oxidative stress as antioxidant mechanisms are lacking at that stage. Any injury during this vulnerable period (embryonic phase) will have a long-term impact on offspring health, both early and later in life. Epidemiological studies have revealed that maternal exposure to air pollution increases the risk of development of airway disease in the offspring due to impaired lung development in utero. In this review, we discuss cellular mechanisms involved in maternal exposure to air pollution and how it can impact airway disease development in offspring. A better understanding of these mechanisms in the context of maternal exposure to air pollution can offer a new avenue to prevent the development of airway disease in offspring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prenatal Exposure to Toxics and Risks in Infants)
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Open AccessReview Heat or Burn? Impacts of Intrauterine Tobacco Smoke and E-Cigarette Vapor Exposure on the Offspring’s Health Outcome
Received: 25 June 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 30 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
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Abstract
Maternal smoking during pregnancy leads to gestational complications and organ disorders in the offspring. As nicotine replacement therapy is often ineffective for smoking cessation, pregnant women turn to alternatives such as heat-not-burn tobacco and e-cigarettes. Recently, the popularly of e-cigarettes has been increasing
[...] Read more.
Maternal smoking during pregnancy leads to gestational complications and organ disorders in the offspring. As nicotine replacement therapy is often ineffective for smoking cessation, pregnant women turn to alternatives such as heat-not-burn tobacco and e-cigarettes. Recently, the popularly of e-cigarettes has been increasing especially among the youth and pregnant women, mainly due to the advertisements claiming their safety. This has even led to some clinicians recommending their use during pregnancy. E-cigarettes heat e-liquid to produce an aerosol (e-vapor), delivering flavorings and nicotine to the user. However, e-vapor also contains toxins such as formaldehyde along with heavy metals and carcinogenic nitrosamines. In addition, specific flavoring compounds such as diacetyl can be toxic themselves or decompose into toxic compounds such as benzaldehydes. These compounds can induce toxicity, inflammation and oxidative stress in the mothers and can accumulate in the developing fetus, affecting intrauterine development. Recent animal studies suggest that maternal e-vapor exposure during pregnancy could cause respiratory and neurological disorders in the offspring. This review will examine the available literature to shed light on the current understanding of this problem-to-be from lessons learned in animal models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prenatal Exposure to Toxics and Risks in Infants)
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