Particle and Fibre Toxicology
Effects of neonatal inhalation exposure to ultrafine carbon particles on pathology and behavioral outcomes in C57BL/6J mice
Particle and Fibre Toxicology201916:10
© The Author(s). 2019
- Published: 18 February 2019
Recent epidemiological studies indicate early-life exposure to air pollution is associated with adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes. Previous studies investigating neonatal exposure to ambient fine and ultrafine particles have shown sex specific inflammation-linked pathological changes and protracted learning deficits. A potential contributor to the adverse phenotypes from developmental exposure to particulate matter observed in previous studies may be elemental carbon, a well-known contributor to pollution particulate. The present study is an evaluation of pathological and protracted behavioral alterations in adulthood following subacute neonatal exposure to ultrafine elemental carbon. C57BL/6J mice were exposed to ultrafine elemental carbon at 50 μg/m3 from postnatal days 4–7 and 10–13 for 4 h/day. Behavioral outcomes measured were locomotor activity, novel object recognition (short-term memory), elevated plus maze (anxiety-like behavior), fixed interval (FI) schedule of food reward (learning, timing) and differential reinforcement of low rate (DRL) schedule of food reward (impulsivity, inability to inhibit responding). Neuropathology was assessed by measures of inflammation (glial fibrillary-acidic protein), myelin basic protein expression in the corpus callosum, and lateral ventricle area.
Twenty-four hours following the final exposure day, no significant differences in anogenital distance, body weight or central nervous system pathological markers were observed in offspring of either sex. Nor were significant changes observed in novel object recognition, elevated plus maze performance, FI, or DRL schedule-controlled behavior in either females or males.
The limited effect of neonatal exposure to ultrafine elemental carbon suggests this component of air pollution is not a substantial contributor to the behavioral alterations and neuropathology previously observed in response to ambient pollution particulate exposures. Rather, other more reactive constituent species, organic and/or inorganic, gas-phase components, or combinations of constituents may be involved. Defining these neurotoxic components is critical to the formulation of better animal models, more focused mechanistic assessments, and potential regulatory policies for air pollution.