Publications by authors named "Anna Pastorkova"

20 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Airborne Benzo[a]Pyrene may contribute to divergent Pheno-Endotypes in children.

Environ Health 2021 Apr 9;20(1):40. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Department of Genetic Toxicology and Nanotoxicology, Institute of Experimental Medicine, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic.

Background: Asthma represents a syndrome for which our understanding of the molecular processes underlying discrete sub-diseases (i.e., endotypes), beyond atopic asthma, is limited. The public health needs to characterize etiology-associated endotype risks is becoming urgent. In particular, the roles of polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), globally distributed combustion by-products, toward the two known endotypes - T helper 2 cell high (Th2) or T helper 2 cell low (non-Th2) - warrants clarification.

Objectives: To explain ambient B[a]P association with non-atopic asthma (i.e., a proxy of non-Th2 endotype) is markedly different from that with atopic asthma (i.e., a proxy for Th2-high endotype).

Methods: In a case-control study, we compare the non-atopic as well as atopic asthmatic boys and girls against their respective controls in terms of the ambient Benzo[a]pyrene concentration nearest to their home, plasma 15-F-isoprostane (15-F-isoP), urinary 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-oxodG), and lung function deficit. We repeated the analysis for i) dichotomous asthma outcome and ii) multinomial asthma-overweight/obese (OV/OB) combined outcomes.

Results: The non-atopic asthma cases are associated with a significantly higher median B[a]P (11.16 ng/m) compared to that in the non-atopic controls (3.83 ng/m; P-value < 0.001). In asthma-OV/OB stratified analysis, the non-atopic girls with lean and OV/OB asthma are associated with a step-wisely elevated B[a]P (median,11.16 and 18.00 ng/m, respectively), compared to the non-atopic lean control girls (median, 4.28 ng/m, P-value < 0.001). In contrast, atopic asthmatic children (2.73 ng/m) are not associated with a significantly elevated median B[a]P, compared to the atopic control children (2.60 ng/m; P-value > 0.05). Based on the logistic regression model, on ln-unit increate in B[a]P is associated with 4.7-times greater odds (95% CI, 1.9-11.5, P = 0.001) of asthma among the non-atopic boys. The same unit increase in B[a]P is associated with 44.8-times greater odds (95% CI, 4.7-428.2, P = 0.001) among the non-atopic girls after adjusting for urinary Cotinine, lung function deficit, 15-F-isoP, and 8-oxodG.

Conclusions: Ambient B[a]P is robustly associated with non-atopic asthma, while it has no clear associations with atopic asthma among lean children. Furthermore, lung function deficit, 15-F-isoP, and 8-oxodG are associated with profound alteration of B[a]P-asthma associations among the non-atopic children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12940-021-00711-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8035778PMC
April 2021

The effects of age on DNA fragmentation, the condensation of chromatin and conventional semen parameters in healthy nonsmoking men exposed to traffic air pollution.

Health Sci Rep 2021 Jun 9;4(2):e260. Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Department of Genetic Toxicology and Epigenetics Institute of Experimental Medicine, Czech Academy of Science Prague Czech Republic.

Background: Numerous studies have investigated age-based declines in semen traits, but the impact of paternal age on semen parameter values remains inconclusive.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to detect an impact of age on semen quality was studied in healthy nonsmoking men exposed to traffic air pollution.

Methods: Semen samples from 150 Prague City policemen aged 23 to 63 years were examined for standard semen parameters, sperm DNA fragmentation and high DNA stainability.

Results: A significant positive correlation was found between age and %DFI ( = .359,  < .001), and negative correlations were found between age and sperm vitality ( = -.247,  < .001), the % acrosome-intact sperm ( = -.202, = .013) and the % normal sperm heads ( = -.204, = .012). A weak but significant negative correlation was found for high DNA stainability (% HDS) vs age ( = -.161, = .050). No significant correlation was detected between male age and the other investigated semen quality parameters. At ages of 23 to 30, 31 to 40, 41 to 50, and 51 to 63 years, the mean %DFI values were 12.7 ± 7.18, 14.7 ± 7.42, 19.6 ± 11.25, and 34.2 ± 15.08, respectively.

Conclusion: Our study shows a strong relationship ( < .001) between the age of men and sperm DNA fragmentation in an occupational cohort at risk of exposure to heavy traffic-related air pollution in a large city center.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hsr2.260DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7942397PMC
June 2021

The Impact of Cesarean and Vaginal Delivery on Results of Psychological Cognitive Test in 5 Year Old Children.

Medicina (Kaunas) 2020 Oct 21;56(10). Epub 2020 Oct 21.

Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, University of South Bohemia, 370 05 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic.

The impact of cesarean and vaginal delivery on cognitive development was analyzed in 5 year old children. : Two cohorts of 5 year old children born in the years 2013 and 2014 in Karvina (Northern Moravia) and Ceske Budejovice (Southern Bohemia) were studied for their cognitive development related to vaginal ( = 117) and cesarean types of delivery ( = 51). The Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test (BG test) and the Raven Colored Progressive Matrices (RCPM test) were used as psychological tests. : In the comparison of vaginal delivery vs. cesarean section, the children delivered by cesarean section scored lower and, therefore, achieved poorer performance in cognitive tests compared to those born by vaginal delivery, as shown in the RCPM ( < 0.001) and in the BG test ( < 0.001). When mothers' education level was considered, the children whose mothers achieved a university degree scored higher in both the RCPM test ( < 0.001) and the BG test ( < 0.01) compared to the children of mothers with lower secondary education. When comparing mothers with a university degree to those with higher secondary education, there was a significant correlation between level of education and score achieved in the RCPM test ( < 0.001), but not in the BG test. : According to our findings, the mode of delivery seems to have a significant influence on performance in psychological cognitive tests in 5 year old children in favor of those who were born by vaginal delivery. Since cesarean-born children scored notably below vaginally born children, it appears possible that cesarean delivery may have a convincingly adverse effect on children's further cognitive development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/medicina56100554DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7589839PMC
October 2020

Effect of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Exposure on Cognitive Development in 5 Years Old Children.

Brain Sci 2020 Sep 7;10(9). Epub 2020 Sep 7.

Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, University of South Bohemia, 370 05 Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic.

To analyze the impact of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in ambient air at the time of delivery and five years of age on cognitive development in five year old children. Two cohorts of children born in the years 2013 and 2014 from Karvina (Northern Moravia, = 70) and Ceske Budejovice (Southern Bohemia, = 99) were studied at the age of five years for their cognitive development related to the exposure to PAHs, determined in the ambient air as the concentration of benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) and OH-PAH (hydroxy-PAH) metabolites in urine of the newborns at the time of delivery. As psychological tests, the Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test (BG test) and the Raven Colored Progressive Matrices (RCPM test) were used. Concentrations of B[a]P in the third trimester of mother's pregnancies were 6.1 ± 4.53 ng/m in Karvina, and 1.19 ± 1.28 ng/m ( < 0.001) in Ceske Budejovice. Neither the outcome of the RCPM test nor the BG test differed between children in Karvina vs. Ceske Budejovice, or boys vs. girls. Cognitive development in five year old children was affected by the higher exposure to PM2.5 during the third trimester in girls in Karvina. We did not observe any significant effect of prenatal PAH exposure on psychological cognitive tests in five year old children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10090619DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7563279PMC
September 2020

Corrigendum to "Benzo[a]pyrene is associated with dysregulated myelo-lymphoid hematopoiesis in asthmatic children" [Environ. Int. 128 (2019) 218-232].

Environ Int 2019 Nov 28;132:105121. Epub 2019 Aug 28.

Icahn Institute of Genomics and Multiscale Biology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.105121DOI Listing
November 2019

Greater susceptibility of girls to airborne Benzo[a]pyrene for obesity-associated childhood asthma.

Environ Int 2018 12 17;121(Pt 1):308-316. Epub 2018 Sep 17.

Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Sexually dimorphic risk of obesity-associated asthma is posited to accelerate around puberty. Yet, the role of air pollution on the lean and obese asthmatic children has never been examined.

Objective: To compare whether a unit exposure to airborne benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) is associated with altered risks of asthma across the overweight/obese (OV/OB) control, lean asthmatic, and OV/OB asthmatic children, respectively, compared to the lean controls, before and after adjusting for oxidant stress markers (i.e. 15‑F2t‑IsoP, 8‑oxo‑dG, and Carbonyl).

Methods: Asthmatic and healthy control children, recruited from polluted urban and rural areas, were matched to ambient concentration of B[a]P. A unit increase in B[a]P and multinomial logistic regression on OV/OB control, lean asthmatic, and OV/OB asthma were compared across the sex- and age-groups.

Results: The median B[a]P was associated with a linear increase among the female children, according to OV/OB and asthma, respectively, and together, compared to the lean control girls (p = 0.001). While B[a]P was associated with positive relationship with 15‑F2t‑IsoP level among the OV/OB boys, the same exposure-outcome association was inverse among the OV/OB girls. One natural log-unit increase in ambient B[a]P was associated with 10.5-times greater odds (95% CI, 2.6-39.6; p = 0.001) the adolescent OV/OB boys, compared to the unit odds among the lean controls. In contrast, the adolescent OV/OB girls were associated with highest adjusted odds of the asthma (aOR = 15.4; 95% CI, 2.9-29.1; p < 0.001) compared to the lean control girls. An adjustment for 15‑F2t‑IsoP, and Carbonyls was associated with greater odds of asthma per unit exposure for the adolescent OV/OB girls (aOR = 16.2; 95% CI, 1.4-181.8; p = 0.024).

Conclusions: B[a]P exposure was associated with a leap in the odds of asthma among the OV/OB adolescents, particularly the girls, after adjusting for 15‑F2t‑IsoP and Carbonyls.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2018.08.061DOI Listing
December 2018

Modeling Unobserved Heterogeneity in Susceptibility to Ambient Benzo[a]pyrene Concentration among Children with Allergic Asthma Using an Unsupervised Learning Algorithm.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2018 01 10;15(1). Epub 2018 Jan 10.

Departments of Environmental Health Sciences, Epidemiology, and Biostatistics State University of New York at Albany School of Public Health, Rensselaer, NY 12144, USA.

Current studies of gene × air pollution interaction typically seek to identify unknown heritability of common complex illnesses arising from variability in the host's susceptibility to environmental pollutants of interest. Accordingly, a single component generalized linear models are often used to model the risk posed by an environmental exposure variable of interest in relation to a priori determined DNA variants. However, reducing the phenotypic heterogeneity may further optimize such approach, primarily represented by the modeled DNA variants. Here, we reduce phenotypic heterogeneity of asthma severity, and also identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) associated with phenotype subgroups. Specifically, we first apply an unsupervised learning algorithm method and a non-parametric regression to find a biclustering structure of children according to their allergy and asthma severity. We then identify a set of SNPs most closely correlated with each sub-group. We subsequently fit a logistic regression model for each group against the healthy controls using benzo[]pyrene (B[]P) as a representative airborne carcinogen. Application of such approach in a case-control data set shows that SNP clustering may help to partly explain heterogeneity in children's asthma susceptibility in relation to ambient B[]P concentration with greater efficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15010106DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5800205PMC
January 2018

Altered vulnerability to asthma at various levels of ambient Benzo[a]Pyrene by CTLA4, STAT4 and CYP2E1 polymorphisms.

Environ Pollut 2017 Dec 12;231(Pt 1):1134-1144. Epub 2017 Aug 12.

Department of Genetic Ecotoxicology, Institute of Experimental Medicine, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i., Vídeňská 1083, 142 20, Prague 4, Czech Republic. Electronic address:

Background: Within fossil- and solid-fuel dependent geographic locations, mechanisms of air pollution-induced asthma remains unknown. In particular, sources of greater genetic susceptibility to airborne carcinogen, namely, benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) has never been investigated beyond that of a few well known genes.

Objectives: To deepen our understanding on how the genotypic variations within the candidate genes contribute to the variability in the children's susceptibility to ambient B[a]P on doctor-diagnosed asthma.

Methods: Clinically confirmed asthmatic versus healthy control children (aged, 7-15) were enrolled from historically polluted and rural background regions in Czech Republic. Contemporaneous ambient B[a]P concentration was obtained from the routine monitoring network. The sputum DNA was genotyped for 95 genes. B[a]P interaction with SNPs was studied by two-stage, semi-agnostic screening of 621 SNPs.

Results: The median B[a]P within the highly polluted urban center was 8-times higher than that in the background region (7.8 vs. 1.1 ng/m) during the period of investigation. Within the baseline model, which considered B[a]P exposure-only, the second tertile range was associated with a significantly reduced odds (aOR = 0.28) of asthma (95% CI, 0.16 to 0.50) compared to those at the lowest range. However, the highest range of B[a]P was associated with 3.18-times greater odds of the outcome (95% CI, 1.77 to 5.71). Within the gene-environment interaction models, joint occurrence of a high B[a]P exposure range and having a high-risk genotype at CTLA4 gene (rs11571316) was associated with 9-times greater odds (95% CI, 4.56-18.36) of the asthma diagnosis. Similarly, rs11571319 at CTLA4 and a high B[a]P exposure range was associated with a 8-times greater odds (95% CI, 3.95-14.27) of asthma diagnosis. Furthermore, having TG + GG genotypes on rs1031509 near STAT4 was associated with 5-times (95% CI, 3.03-8.55) greater odds of asthma diagnosis at the highest B[a]P range, compared to the odds at the reference range. Also CYP2E1 AT + TT genotypes (rs2070673) was associated with 5-times (95% CI, 3.1-8.8) greater odds of asthma diagnosis at the highest B[a]P exposure.

Conclusions: The children, who jointly experience a high B[a]P exposure (6.3-8.5 ng/m3) as well as susceptible genotypes in CTLA4 (rs11571316 and rs11571319), STAT4 (rs1031509), and CYP2E1 (rs2070673), respectively, are associated with a significantly greater odds of having doctor-diagnosed asthma, compared to those with neither risk factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2017.07.057DOI Listing
December 2017

Oxidative stress in newborns by different modes of delivery.

Neuro Endocrinol Lett 2016 Nov;37(6):445-451

Institute of Experimental Medicine, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic.

Objectives: The aim of our study is to investigate the impact of the type of delivery - vaginal vs. cesarean section on oxidative damage determined as the lipid peroxidation (15-F2t-isoprostane (15-F2t-IsoP) in the cord blood of newborns and venous blood from mothers in two localities with different levels of air pollution: Ceske Budejovice (CB), a locality with a clean air, and Karvina, a locality with high air pollution.

Resutls: In Karvina, the concentration of PM2.5 was higher than in CB in the summer 2013 (mean±SD: 20.41±6.28 vs. 9.45±3.62 µg/m3, p<0.001) and in the winter 2014 (mean±SD: 53.67±19.76 vs. 27.96±12.34 µg/m3, p<0.001). Similarly, the concentration of B[a]P was higher in Karvina than in CB in the summer 2013 (mean±SD: 1.16±0.91 vs. 0.16±0.26 ng/m3, p<0.001) and in the winter 2014 (5.36±3.64 vs. 1.45±1.19 ng/m3, p<0.001). Delivery procedures differed by the type of anesthesia; at the Cesarean section in CB was used general anesthesia in 73.8% vs. 20.8% in Karvina (p<0.001), epidural anesthesia in CB in 26.2% vs. 77.1% in Karvina (p<0.001), at vaginal delivery was local anesthesia used in CB in 58.9% vs. 14.1% in Karvina (p<0.001). In CB was oxidative stress higher after vaginal delivery (101.7±31.0 pg 15-F2t-isoP/ml plasma) vs. Cesarean section (83.9±26.9 pg 15-F2t-isoP/ml plasma, p<0.001), no difference between the type of delivery was observed in Karvina.

Conclusion: No difference between the types of delivery was observed in mothers in CB as well as in Karvina. Oxidative stress in newborns in Karvina was significantly affected by the concentrations of PM2.5 and B[a]P in the polluted air.
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November 2016

Ultrafine and Fine Particles and Hospital Admissions in Central Europe. Results from the UFIREG Study.

Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2016 11;194(10):1233-1241

1 Helmholtz Zentrum München-German Research Center for Environmental Health, Institute of Epidemiology II, Neuherberg, Germany.

Rationale: Evidence of short-term effects of ultrafine particles (UFP) on health is still inconsistent and few multicenter studies have been conducted so far especially in Europe.

Objectives: Within the UFIREG project, we investigated the short-term effects of UFP and fine particulate matter (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm [PM]) on daily cause-specific hospital admissions in five Central and Eastern European cities using harmonized protocols for measurements and analyses.

Methods: Daily counts of cause-specific hospital admissions focusing on cardiovascular and respiratory diseases were obtained for Augsburg and Dresden (Germany), 2011-2012; Chernivtsi (Ukraine), 2013 to March 2014; and Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Prague (Czech Republic), 2012-2013. Air pollution and meteorologic data were measured at fixed monitoring sites in all cities. We analyzed city-specific associations using confounder-adjusted Poisson regression models and pooled the city-specific effect estimates using metaanalysis methods.

Measurements And Main Results: A 2,750 particles/cm increase (average interquartile range across all cities) in the 6-day average of UFP indicated a delayed and prolonged increase in the pooled relative risk of respiratory hospital admissions (3.4% [95% confidence interval, -1.7 to 8.8%]). We also found increases in the pooled relative risk of cardiovascular (exposure average of lag 2-5, 1.8% [0.1-3.4%]) and respiratory (6-d average exposure, 7.5% [4.9-10.2%]) admissions per 12.4 μg/m increase (average interquartile range) in PM.

Conclusions: Our findings indicated delayed and prolonged effects of UFP exposure on respiratory hospital admissions in Central and Eastern Europe. Cardiovascular and respiratory hospital admissions increased in association with an increase in PM. Further multicenter studies are needed using harmonized UFP measurements to draw definite conclusions on health effects of UFP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1164/rccm.201510-2042OCDOI Listing
November 2016

Associations between ultrafine and fine particles and mortality in five central European cities - Results from the UFIREG study.

Environ Int 2016 Mar 17;88:44-52. Epub 2015 Dec 17.

Helmholtz Zentrum München-German Research Center for Environmental Health, Institute of Epidemiology II, Neuherberg, Germany.

Background: Evidence on health effects of ultrafine particles (UFP) is still limited as they are usually not monitored routinely. The few epidemiological studies on UFP and (cause-specific) mortality so far have reported inconsistent results.

Objectives: The main objective of the UFIREG project was to investigate the short-term associations between UFP and fine particulate matter (PM)<2.5μm (PM2.5) and daily (cause-specific) mortality in five European Cities. We also examined the effects of PM<10μm (PM10) and coarse particles (PM2.5-10).

Methods: UFP (20-100nm), PM and meteorological data were measured in Dresden and Augsburg (Germany), Prague (Czech Republic), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Chernivtsi (Ukraine). Daily counts of natural and cardio-respiratory mortality were collected for all five cities. Depending on data availability, the following study periods were chosen: Augsburg and Dresden 2011-2012, Ljubljana and Prague 2012-2013, Chernivtsi 2013-March 2014. The associations between air pollutants and health outcomes were assessed using confounder-adjusted Poisson regression models examining single (lag 0-lag 5) and cumulative lags (lag 0-1, lag 2-5, and lag 0-5). City-specific estimates were pooled using meta-analyses methods.

Results: Results indicated a delayed and prolonged association between UFP and respiratory mortality (9.9% [95%-confidence interval: -6.3%; 28.8%] increase in association with a 6-day average increase of 2750particles/cm(3) (average interquartile range across all cities)). Cardiovascular mortality increased by 3.0% [-2.7%; 9.1%] and 4.1% [0.4%; 8.0%] in association with a 12.4μg/m(3) and 4.7μg/m(3) increase in the PM2.5- and PM2.5-10-averages of lag 2-5.

Conclusions: We observed positive but not statistically significant associations between prolonged exposures to UFP and respiratory mortality, which were independent of particle mass exposures. Further multi-centre studies are needed investigating several years to produce more precise estimates on health effects of UFP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2015.12.006DOI Listing
March 2016

[Health effects of ambient ultrafine particles--the project UFIREG].

Cas Lek Cesk 2015 ;154(4):176-80

Background: The project "Ultrafine particles--an evidence based contribution to the development of regional and European environmental and health policy" (UFIREG) started in July 2011 and ended in December 2014. It was implemented through the Central Europe Programme and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund. Five cities in four Central European countries participated in the study: Augsburg (Germany), Chernivtsi (Ukraine), Dresden (Germany), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Prague (Czech Republic). The aim of the UFIREG project was to improve the knowledge base on possible health effects of ambient ultrafine particles (UFP) and to raise overall awareness of environmental and health care authorities and the population.

Methods: Epidemiological studies in the frame of the UFIREG project have assessed the short-term effects of UFP on human mortality and morbidity, especially in relation to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Official statistics were used to determine the association between air pollution concentration and daily (cause-specific: respiratory and cardiovascular) hospital admissions and mortality. Associations of UFP levels and health effects were analysed for each city by use of Poisson regression models adjusting for a number of confounding factors.

Results: Results on morbidity and mortality effects of UFP were heterogeneous across the five European cities investigated. Overall, an increase in respiratory hospital admissions and mortality could be detected for increases in UFP concentrations. Results on cardiovascular health were less conclusive.

Conclusion: Further multi-centre studies such as UFIREG are needed preferably investigating several years in order to produce powerful results.
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October 2015

Reduced gene expression levels after chronic exposure to high concentrations of air pollutants.

Mutat Res 2015 Oct 11;780:60-70. Epub 2015 Aug 11.

Department of Genetic Ecotoxicology, Institute of Experimental Medicine, Prague, Czech Republic.

We analyzed the ability of particulate matter (PM) and chemicals adsorbed onto it to induce diverse gene expression profiles in subjects living in two regions of the Czech Republic differing in levels and sources of the air pollution. A total of 312 samples from polluted Ostrava region and 154 control samples from Prague were collected in winter 2009, summer 2009 and winter 2010. The highest concentrations of air pollutants were detected in winter 2010 when the subjects were exposed to: PM of aerodynamic diameter <2.5μm (PM2.5) (70 vs. 44.9μg/m(3)); benzo[a]pyrene (9.02 vs. 2.56ng/m(3)) and benzene (10.2 vs. 5.5μg/m(3)) in Ostrava and Prague, respectively. Global gene expression analysis of total RNA extracted from leukocytes was performed using Illumina Expression BeadChips microarrays. The expression of selected genes was verified by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). Gene expression profiles differed by locations and seasons. Despite lower concentrations of air pollutants a higher number of differentially expressed genes and affected KEGG (Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes) pathways was found in subjects from Prague. In both locations immune response pathways were affected, in Prague also neurodegenerative diseases-related pathways. Over-representation of the latter pathways was associated with the exposure to PM2.5. The qRT-PCR analysis showed a significant decrease in expression of APEX, ATM, FAS, GSTM1, IL1B and RAD21 in subjects from Ostrava, in a comparison of winter 2010 and summer 2009. In Prague, an increase in gene expression was observed for GADD45A and PTGS2. In conclusion, high concentrations of pollutants in Ostrava were not associated with higher number of differentially expressed genes, affected KEGG pathways and expression levels of selected genes. This observation suggests that chronic exposure to air pollution may result in reduced gene expression response with possible negative health consequences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2015.08.001DOI Listing
October 2015

Differences between the spectra of respiratory illnesses in children living in urban and rural environments.

Cent Eur J Public Health 2014 Mar;22(1):3-11

A longitudinal study launched in 1994 within the framework of the Teplice Programme aimed at comparing the respiratory morbidity in children born (1994-1998) and living in the districts of Teplice (TE) and Prachatice (PRA) in the Czech Republic. Lists of all illnesses of 960 children from birth to 10 years of age were obtained from paediatric medical records. From 26,471 diagnoses (in ICD-10 codes), 34.7% were diagnoses of upper respiratory infections (URI, J00-02, J06), 11.3% of tonsillitis, 10.2% of influenza, 9.4% of bronchitis, 8.9% of laryngitis/tracheitis (J04), 2.7% of otitis media, and 0.5% of pneumonia. The more polluted district of Teplice was divided into two parts: the town itself (TE-town) and the rest of the district (TE-district). The cumulative incidence rates of the above respiratory illnesses per 100 children per 10 years were 2,212 in TE-town, 2,192 in PRA and 1,985 in TE-district. In the first two years of life, the children from TE-town had a significantly higher incidence of laryngitis/tracheitis, influenza, otitis media, and pneumonia and significantly lower incidence of bronchitis and tonsillitis than children living in PRA. The incidence rates of laryngitis/tracheitis and influenza in TE-town persisted as the highest among the three regions till the age of 10 years. The incidence rates of bronchitis (from the 1st to 5th year) and URI (from 4th to 10th year) were highest in children living in PRA. When compared to TE-town, children in TE-district had a higher incidence of upper respiratory infections (1-8 years) and lower incidence of bronchitis (6-8 years). Children in the district of Prachatice had a significantly higher prevalence of allergic rhinitis and a lower prevalence of wheezing than children in the district of Teplice. Thus, the three regions differed by the spectra of respiratory illnesses rather than by overall morbidity and, hypothetically, the effects of air pollution were obscurred by differences in the degree of urbanization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21101/cejph.a3950DOI Listing
March 2014

Comparison of child morbidity in regions of Ostrava, Czech Republic, with different degrees of pollution: a retrospective cohort study.

Environ Health 2013 Sep 3;12(1):74. Epub 2013 Sep 3.

Institute of Experimental Medicine AS CR, Prague, Czech Republic.

Background: To confirm or refute the hypothesis that the morbidity of children (since birth to age 5) born and living in the heavily polluted (PM10, benzo[a]pyrene) eastern part of Ostrava, Czech Republic, was higher than the morbidity of children living in other parts of the city.

Methods: Ten pediatricians in 5 districts of Ostrava abstracted the medical records of 1878 children born in 2001-2004 to list all illnesses of each child in ICD-10 codes. The children were divided into four groups according to their residence at birth and thereafter. Most of the children in the eastern area were living in the city district Radvanice and Bartovice.

Results: We report on the incidence of acute illnesses in 1535 children of Czech ethnicity in the first 5 years of life. The most frequent acute illnesses (over 45% of all diagnoses) were upper respiratory infections (URI: J00-J02, J06). In the first year of life, the incidence of URI in 183 children in the eastern area - 372 illnesses/100 children/year - was more than twice as high as in the other 3 areas with a total number of 1352 children. From birth to the age of 5 years, the incidences of pneumonia, tonsillitis, viral infections (ICD-10 code B34) and intestinal infectious diseases were also several times higher in children living in the eastern part of Ostrava. The lowest morbidity was found in children living in the less polluted western part of the city.

Conclusions: The children born and living in the eastern part of the city of Ostrava had from birth through 5 years significantly higher incidence rates of acute illnesses than children in other parts of Ostrava. They also had a higher prevalence of wheezing, atopic dermatitis and allergic rhinitis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1476-069X-12-74DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3844449PMC
September 2013

Analysis of biomarkers in a Czech population exposed to heavy air pollution. Part I: bulky DNA adducts.

Mutagenesis 2013 Jan 9;28(1):89-95. Epub 2012 Oct 9.

Institute of Experimental Medicine AS CR, Videnska 1083, 142 20 Prague 4, Czech Republic.

The health of human populations living in industrial regions is negatively affected by exposure to environmental air pollutants. In this study, we investigated the impact of air pollution on a cohort of subjects living in Ostrava, a heavily polluted industrial region and compared it with a cohort of individuals from the relatively clean capital city of Prague. This study consisted of three sampling periods differing in the concentrations of major air pollutants (winter 2009, summer 2009 and winter 2010). During all sampling periods, the study subjects from Ostrava region were exposed to significantly higher concentrations of benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) and benzene than the subjects in Prague as measured by personal monitors. Pollution by B[a]P, particulate matter of aerodynamic diameter <2.5 µm (PM2.5) and benzene in the Ostrava region measured by stationary monitors was also higher than in Prague, with the exception of PM2.5 in summer 2009 when concentration of the pollutant was significantly elevated in Prague. To evaluate DNA damage in subjects from both locations we determined the levels of bulky DNA adducts in peripheral blood lymphocytes using the (32)P-postlabeling method. Despite higher B[a]P air pollution in the Ostrava region during all sampling periods, the levels of B[a]P-like DNA adducts per 10(8) nucleotides were significantly higher in the Ostrava subjects only in winter 2009 (mean ± SD: 0.21 ± 0.06 versus 0.28 ± 0.08 adducts/10(8) nucleotides, P < 0.001 for Prague and Ostrava subjects, respectively; P < 0.001). During the other two sampling periods, the levels of B[a]P-like DNA adducts were significantly higher in the Prague subjects (P < 0.001). Multivariate analyses conducted among subjects from Ostrava and Prague separately during all sampling periods revealed that exposure to B[a]P and PM2.5 significantly increased levels of B[a]P-like DNA adducts in the Ostrava subjects, but not in subjects from Prague.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mutage/ges057DOI Listing
January 2013

Deregulation of gene expression induced by environmental tobacco smoke exposure in pregnancy.

Nicotine Tob Res 2012 Sep 21;14(9):1073-82. Epub 2012 Feb 21.

Department of Molecular Genetics, Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion, U Nemocnice 1, 128 20, Prague 2, Czech Republic.

Introduction: Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure in pregnant women may have detrimental effects such as spontaneous abortion, lower birth weight, stillbirth, and reduced infant lung function. To extend our knowledge on the molecular effects of tobacco smoke exposure in pregnancy, we analyzed transcriptome alterations in passive smokers (PS) and compared them with those in active smokers (AS).

Methods: Using Illumina Expression Beadchips with 24,526 transcript probes, gene expression patterns were assayed in placentas from PS (N = 25) exposed to ETS throughout pregnancy and nonexposed (NS) counterparts (N = 34) and in cord blood cells from their newborns. ETS exposure was evaluated by questionnaire disclosure and cotinine measurement in maternal and cord blood.

Results: A total of 158 genes were significantly deregulated in the placentas of PS compared with NS. These genes were associated with the extracellular matrix, apoptosis, placental function, blood clotting, response to stress, and lipid metabolism. Cord blood of the newborns of PS displayed differential expression of 114 genes encoding mainly adhesion molecules and regulators of immunologic response. A comparison of the affected pathways between PS and AS indicated that ETS exposure and active smoking in pregnancy partly employ the same molecular mechanisms.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that even low dose exposure to ETS during pregnancy leads to significant deregulation of transcription in placental and fetal cells. These data suggest that the effect of ETS on the fetus is primarily indirect, mediated via deregulation of placental functions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ntr/ntr325DOI Listing
September 2012

Micronuclei levels in mothers and their newborns from regions with different types of air pollution.

Mutat Res 2011 Oct 30;715(1-2):72-8. Epub 2011 Jul 30.

Institute of Experimental Medicine, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 14220 Prague 4, Czech Republic.

The aim of this study was to analyze genetic damage in human lymphocytes measured using automated image analysis of micronuclei (MN) in a group of 178 mothers and their newborns from two locations in the Czech Republic. The concentrations of benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), particulate matter of aerodynamic diameter <2.5 μm (PM2.5) and benzene were measured by stationary monitoring in the winter season of 2008/2009 in the capital city of Prague and in Ceske Budejovice, a regional city in a rural area. The 3-month mean concentration of B[a]P before delivery was lower in Prague in comparison with Ceske Budejovice: 1.9 ± 0.5ng/m³ vs. 3.2 ± 0.2ng/m³ (p<0.001). The opposite trend was found for PM2.5 and benzene: 27.0 ± 2.5μg/m³ and 2.5 ± 0.5μg/m³ vs. 24.5 ± 0.7μg/m³ and 2.1 ± 0.8μg/m³ (p<0.001) for Prague vs. Ceske Budejovice, respectively. The average age of the mothers was 31 years (range, 18-49 years). The frequencies of MN per 1000 binucleated cells were 8.35 ± 3.06 vs. 6.47 ± 2.35 (p<0.001) for mothers from Prague and Ceske Budejovice, respectively, and 2.17 ± 1.32 vs. 3.82 ± 2.43 (p<0.001) for newborns from Prague and Ceske Budejovice, respectively. Other factors, including vitamin intake, exposure to tobacco smoke, body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy, the education level of the mothers and the impact of the mothers' and fathers' ages were analyzed in our study. The results suggest that the different sensitivity of the study groups to various mixtures of carcinogenic pollutants could be affected by significant differences in lifestyle factors. Possible higher genetic damage was analyzed in newborns of smoking mothers, and the birth weight of this group was 7.4% lower (p<0.05) in comparison with the newborns of nonsmoking mothers. No impact of the age of the mothers or fathers on MN frequency in the newborns was observed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2011.07.011DOI Listing
October 2011

Genotoxic effect of Goeckerman regimen of psoriasis.

Arch Dermatol Res 2006 Oct 11;298(5):243-51. Epub 2006 Aug 11.

Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Kralove, Institute of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, Charles University in Prague, Simkova 870, 500 38, Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic.

Goeckerman regimen (GR) of psoriasis includes daily dermal application of crude coal tar (CCT) and dermal exposure to UV-A and UV-B radiation. Observed group consisted of 23 patients with psoriasis treated by GR. Therapeutic ointment contained 5% of CCT. The level of psoriasis area and severity index was significantly decreased after GR (P < 0.001) and confirms high efficiency of GR. High levels of selected metabolites of pyrene and phenanthrene indicated high level of dermal penetration. We found significantly increased urinary mutagenicity in samples collected in the middle and in the end of GR (TA98+S9, P < 0.01; YG1041-S9, P < 0.001; YG1041+S9, P < 0.001). Significant increasing of chromosomal aberrations in peripheral lymphocytes (CA) in blood samples collected in the end of GR (P < 0.001) and consecutive decreasing of CA in 78th day after the end of GR has been observed. Almost all results indicated that the patients could be endangered by a peak genotoxic exposure. Nevertheless, the genotoxic effect does not seem to be long lasting. Despite conflicting results from cancer epidemiological studies, it is evident that single GR can contribute to the total load of environmental mutagens in a group of treated patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00403-006-0691-zDOI Listing
October 2006

Biological activities of organic compounds adsorbed onto ambient air particles: comparison between the cities of Teplice and Prague during the summer and winter seasons 2000-2001.

Mutat Res 2003 Apr;525(1-2):43-59

Laboratory of Genetic Ecotoxicology, Regional Institute of Hygiene of Central Bohemia and Institute of Experimental Medicine, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Vídenská 1083, Prague 4, Czech Republic.

The capital of the Czech Republic, Prague, appears today to be one of the most polluted residential areas in the country, whereas air pollution in the Northern Bohemia region (the former "Black Triangle Region") has substantially decreased during the last decade, especially with respect to the gaseous pollutant SO(2). This study evaluated the biological activities of complex mixtures of organic compounds adsorbed onto ambient air particles (PM10) collected during the summer and winter seasons of 2000-2001 at three monitoring sites--Teplice (TP), Prague-Smíchov (PRG-SM) (city centre) and Prague-Libus (PRG-LB) (suburban area). The following short-term in vitro assays with strikingly different endpoints were used: a bacterial mutagenicity test using the Salmonella typhimurium tester strain TA98 and YG1041, an acellular assay (CT DNA) combined with 32P-postlabelling to evaluate DNA adduct-forming potency and the chick embryotoxicity screening test (CHEST). The results of the mutagenicity test with the YG1041 strain, the acellular genotoxicity (DNA adducts) and the embryotoxicity tests responded to the amount of eight carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) analysed in the EOM (dichloromethane extractable organic matter) samples tested. Nevertheless, the biological effects of the EOM did not differ between locations. The highest biological activity of the ambient air in terms of organic compounds associated with particles (per unit volume of air) was seen in the Prague city centre during both summer and winter seasons. At this location, B[a]P concentration ranged from 0.1 to 8.9 ng/m(3) (mean 0.3 and 3.6 ng/m(3) for summer and winter seasons, respectively), 13 PAHs ranged from 11 to 343 ng/m(3) (mean 52 and 160 ng/m(3) for summer and winter seasons, respectively). Generally, using in vitro tests, higher ambient air activity was found in the winter season as compared with the summer season at all three monitoring sites (TA98 +S9, approximately 4-fold; YG1041 -S9, approximately 5-fold; YG1041 +S9, approximately 8-fold; CT DNA +S9, approximately 10-fold; CHEST, approximately 10-fold; B[a]P, carcinogenic PAHs and total PAHs analysed, more than 10-fold). The different proportions of individual PAHs found in the summer and winter samples suggested traffic as a major emission source in the summer and, additionally, residential heating in the winter season at all three monitoring sites. The DNA adduct patterns resulting from the in vitro acellular assay also demonstrated similar major emission sources at all three locations. The study shows that particle-bound carcinogenic-PAH concentrations may be taken as an index for the biologically active (mutagenic, genotoxic, embryotoxic) components in air particulate samples. Therefore, high-quality monitoring data of carcinogenic PAHs may be useful for epidemiological studies of the impact of air pollution on the health of the population and for helping decision makers to improve our environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0027-5107(02)00312-3DOI Listing
April 2003