Air pollution can damage DNA in three days

By | May 19, 2009

Air pollution can damage DNA in three days

Inhalation of some particulates can cause some genes to become reprogrammed, affecting the development and outcome of cancers, Italian researchers said.

Dr. Andrea Baccarelli of the University of Milan enrolled 63 healthy subjects who worked in a foundry near Milan. Blood DNA samples were collected on the morning of the first day of the work week, and again after three days of work. Comparing these samples revealed that significant changes had occurred in four genes associated with tumor suppression.

“The changes were detectable after only three days of exposure to particulate matter, indicating that environmental factors need little time to cause gene reprogramming which is potentially associated with disease outcomes,” Baccarelli said said in a statement.

“As several of the effects of particulate matter in foundries are similar to those found after exposure to ambient air pollution, our results open new hypotheses about how air pollutants modify human health. The changes in DNA methylation we observed are reversible and some of them are currently being used as targets of cancer drugs.”

The findings were presented at the 105th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego.

via Air pollution can damage DNA in three days – Health News – redOrbit.


A new Canadian study has revealed that pollution can cause not only a fall in one’s sperm count, but also sperm mutations which “have the potential to affect disease incidence in the descendants of exposed individuals.”

The study was published in the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week itself. It was carried out by Health Canada on mice in Toronto.

Canadian researchers and some from the US National Center for Toxicological Research studied the impact of polluted air from Hamilton Harbour (in Toronto) on mice kept in a shed for 10 weeks.

This shed was constantly exposed to polluted air coming from two steel mills and a highway that lay within its 2km radius. After ten weeks passed, the researchers compared the impact of pollution on these mice to another group which breathed filtered, pollutant-free air inside a chamber.

The researchers found a 60% increase in sperm DNA mutation in the mice exposed to polluted air, compared to those who inhaled filtered air.

They were surprised to find that the sperm mutations persisted even after the mice were no longer exposed to polluted air. The persistence of the sperm DNA mutation indicated that pollution had changed in the germ-line cells which produce sperm.

The mutated sperm’s genetic composition has the potential to affect disease incidence in eth descendants of exposed individuals,” the researchers warned.

The study has said “increased germ-line DNA mutation frequency may cause population-level changes in genetic composition and disease,” in view of the rising pollution levels all over the world.

via – Health Jockey

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