Children and teens who are exposed to excessive stages of traffic-related air pollution have proof of a particular type of DNA damage known as telomere shortening, reports a study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Kids and teenagers with bronchial asthma even have evidence of telomere shortening, according to the preliminary study by John R. Balmes, MD, of the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues. They write, Our results suggest that telomere length may have potential for use as a biomarker of DNA damage due to environmental exposures and/or chronic inflammation.
The study included 14 children and teenagers living in Fresno, California, the second most polluted city in the United States. The researchers assessed the connection between polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), an “ubiquitous” air pollutant brought on by vehicle exhaust and shortening of telomeres, a sort of DNA damage most commonly related to aging.
How Air Pollution Can Damage DNA?
Because exposure to PAHs has expanded, telomere length lowered in linear trend. Kids and teens with bronchial asthma were exposed to larger PAH levels than those without bronchial asthma. The connection between PAH level and telomere shortening remained significant after adjustment for asthma and different explanations (age, intercourse, and race/ethnicity) concerning telomere length.
The study adds to previous proof that air pollution can bring about oxidative stress, which will damage lipids, proteins, and DNA. The study has recommended that children could have unique telomere shortening than adults, which might make them more at risk of the detrimental effects of air pollution.
According to Dr. Balmes and coauthors, Greater knowledge of the impact of air pollution at the molecular level is necessary to design effective interventions and policies. With further research, telomeres could provide a new biomarker to reflect the cellular-level effects of exposure to air pollution. Telomeres might also provide new insights into the understanding how pollution exposure leads to adverse health outcomes.
The findings of this study are consistent with evidence that has shown that the toxins and other poisons in polluted air may have an impact on the health of children. This study is considered as evidence that indeed toxins and pollutants that are present in air may have impact on the DNA of cells and can even lead to genetic mutations that are carried in years and generations.
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