ISLAMABAD: A new study has pointed out that exposure to air pollution damages the brain of developing mice, affecting the same area of the brain that is known to play a role in autism and schizophrenia in humans.
Researchers from the University of Rochester in the US found that when mice were regularly exposed to fine particle pollution in the first two weeks of their life, they developed a range of brain abnormalities which are consistent with patterns seen in humans suffering from schizophrenia and autism said the study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
“Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that air pollution may play a role in autism, as well as in other neuro developmental disorders,” said Deborah Cory-Slechta, professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester and lead author of the study.
Exposure to fine particle air pollution was found to cause inflammation in the brains of the young mice, damaging the development of white matter.
The lateral ventricles, cavities in the brain which are filled with cerebrospinal fluid and protect the brain from trauma, were found to be enlarged to up to three times their normal size, filling up the free space in the underdeveloped brains.
This dilation of the ventricles has previously been linked to autism and schizophrenia in humans.
In addition, after breathing the contaminated air, the male mice exhibited a high level of glutamate in the brain, a neurotransmitter found to be abnormally high in individuals suffering from these same two conditions.