Ambient Air Pollution, Preterm Delivery and Preeclampsia

Title: Ambient Air Pollution, Preeclampsia and Preterm Delivery

Principal Investigator: Carole Rudra, PhD

Funding Agency: NIH/NIEHS

Period: 06/01/07 - 05/31/10

Abstract: Preeclampsia and preterm delivery are important causes of maternal and infant morbidity and mortality. Recent studies suggest that elevated air pollutant exposures may lead to preterm delivery, even at lower air pollutant levels typical of those in many US cities. No prior studies have directly examined air pollutant exposure in relation to preeclampsia; although much evidence suggests that the relation is biologically plausible.

In this study, we are using data from a large cohort study of pregnancy based in western Washington State (5R01HD032562, PI Michelle Willams, ScD). We are designing models that use local traffic, weather, and population characteristics to predict monthly ambient concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and carbon monoxide (CO). These models are used to estimate study participants' PM2.5 and CO exposures before and during pregnancy. We are determining whether these air pollutant exposures are associated with subsequent risk of preeclampsia and preterm delivery. Additionally, we are measuring biological markers of maternal lipid peroxidation (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances) and inflammation (high sensitivity C-reactive protein) in maternal blood samples drawn during early pregnancy. These data allow us to examine lipid peroxidation and inflammation as biological mechanisms in air pollutant/disease relationships. Finally, we aim to examine carboxyhemoglobin measured in early-pregnancy maternal blood samples as a marker of CO exposure. We will test the associations between carboxyhemoglobin and the pregnancy outcomes.