Exposure to air pollution is associated with detrimental effects on health and may cause changes in the respiratory, cardiovascular and reproductive systems. Cases of prematurity, an increase in the proportion of female births, placental disorders and low birth weight have been associated with perinatal exposure to environmental pollutants. Low fetal weight, in turn, indicates shortages in the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the fetus and both may be related to malnutrition, maternal hemodynamic problems and placental morphological and functional disorders. Studies have shown that low birth weight is associated with the development of diseases in adulthood, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and obesity. The development of local and systemic inflammatory reaction in response to exposure to particulate matter, one of environmental pollutants present in air, has also been reported. The occurrence of inflammatory phenomena in the placenta may result in inadequate perfusion, and consequently in deficiency of the trans-placental transport of nutrients. Thus, inadequate placental perfusion may cause intrauterine growth restriction by interfering with one or more processes, causing loss of fetal nutrition and/or reduced oxygenation of maternal and fetal blood. Therefore it is necessary to develop a study that may characterize the development of local and systemic inflammatory reaction in rats subjected to exposure to air pollution in the pre-or gestational periods. Wistar rats will be exposed to air pollution in an ambient particle concentrator. They will receive a dose of 4680 mg/day, which was determined based on actual environmental exposures to particulate matter in the metropolitan region of São Paulo. The blood and placenta will be evaluated to determine whether the inflammatory markers, TNF-±, INF-³, IL-1², IL-4, IL-6, IL-10 and toll-like receptor 4, are involved in this phenomenon.
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