Researchers Found Evidence of Tiny Particles of Carbon in Placentas

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Researchers found that carbon soot in polluted air when inhaled by pregnant women, directly reached the placenta through bloodstream.

Research studies conducted previously suggested linkage with pregnant mothers’ exposure to air pollution and premature birth, low birth weight, infant mortality, and childhood respiratory problems. New research work in the field of medicine adds to existing evidence. The study states that when pregnant women inhale polluted air, sooty particles enter the placenta through bloodstream.

The work was presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress on September 16, 2018, highlights the dangers of pollution for unborn babies. The two authors of the work are Dr. Norrice Liu, a pediatrician and clinical research fellow, and Dr. Lisa Miyashita, a post-doctoral researcher, both members of Professor Jonathan Grigg’s research group at Queen Mary University of London, UK.

“We were interested to see if these effects could be due to pollution particles moving from the mother’s lungs to the placenta. Until now, there has been very little evidence that inhaled particles get into the blood from the lung,” said Dr. Miyashita.

The team studied the placenta of five women in London, all the participants were healthy, non-smokers, with an uncomplicated pregnancy, and delivered a healthy baby. They carefully studied the placental macrophages cell, a part of body’s immune system, which engulfs bacteria and pollution particles. They examined about 3,500 placental macrophages under a high-powered microscope, and found that on an average each placenta carried five square micrometers of soot or pollutants.

The new study will help in realizing the ill effects of air pollution on pregnant ladies and newborn babies. Strict measures should be taken by the authorities to reduce air pollution from the environment.

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