Microglia are essential for CNS homeostasis and innate neuroimmune function, and play important roles in neurodegeneration and brain aging. Here we present gene expression profiles of purified microglia isolated at autopsy from the parietal cortex of 39 human subjects with intact cognition. Overall, genes expressed by human microglia were similar to those in mouse, including established microglial genes CX3CR1, P2RY12 and ITGAM (CD11B). However, a number of immune genes, not identified as part of the mouse microglial signature, were abundantly expressed in human microglia, including TLR, Fcγ and SIGLEC receptors, as well as TAL1 and IFI16, regulators of proliferation and cell cycle. Age-associated changes in human microglia were enriched for genes involved in cell adhesion, axonal guidance, cell surface receptor expression and actin (dis)assembly. Limited overlap was observed in microglial genes regulated during aging between mice and humans, indicating that human and mouse microglia age differently.
Economic growth and increased urbanization pose a new risk for cancer development: the exposure of high numbers of people to ambient air pollution. Epidemiological evidence that links air pollution to mortality from lung cancer is robust. An ability to produce high-quality scientific research that addresses these risks and the ability of local health authorities to understand and respond to these risks are basic requirements to solve the conflict between economic development and the preservation of human health. However, this is currently far from being achieved. Thus, this Science and Society article addresses the possibilities of expanding scientific networking to increase awareness of the risk of lung cancer that is promoted by air pollution.
In humans, adverse pregnancy outcomes (low birth weight, prematurity, and intrauterine growth retardation) are associated with exposure to urban air pollution. Experimental data have also shown that such exposure elicits adverse reproductive outcomes. We hypothesized that the effects of urban air pollution on pregnancy outcomes could be related to changes in functional morphology of the placenta. To test this, future dams were exposed during pregestational and gestational periods to filtered or nonfiltered air in exposure chambers. Placentas were collected from near-term pregnancies and prepared for microscopical examination. Fields of view on vertical uniform random tissue slices were analyzed using stereological methods. Volumes of placental compartments were estimated, and the labyrinth was analyzed further in terms of its maternal vascular spaces, fetal capillaries, trophoblast, and exchange surface areas. From these primary data, secondary quantities were derived: vessel calibers (expressed as diameters), trophoblast thickness (arithmetic mean), and total and mass-specific morphometric diffusive conductances for oxygen of the intervascular barrier. Two-way analysis of variance showed that both periods of exposure led to significantly smaller fetal weights. Pregestational exposure to nonfiltered air led to significant increases in fetal capillary surface area and in total and mass-specific conductances. However, the calibers of maternal blood spaces were reduced. Gestational exposure to nonfiltered air was associated with reduced volumes, calibers, and surface areas of maternal blood spaces and with greater fetal capillary surfaces and diffusive conductances. The findings indicate that urban air pollution affects placental functional morphology. Fetal weights are compromised despite attempts to improve diffusive transport across the placenta.
The prevalence of marijuana use among pregnant women is high. However, the effects on gestation and fetal development are not well known. Epidemiological and experimental studies present conflicting results because of the route of administration, dose, time of exposure, species used, and how Cannabis toxicity is tested (prepared extracts, specific components, or by pyrolysis). In this study, we experimentally investigated the effects of maternal inhalation of Cannabis sativa smoke representing as nearly as possible real world conditions of human marijuana use. Pregnant mice (n=20) were exposed (nose-only) daily for 5min to marijuana smoke (0.2g of Cannabis) from gestational day (GD) 5.5 to GD17.5 or filtered air. Food intake and maternal weight gain were recorded. Ultrasound biomicroscopy was performed on 10.5 and 16.5dpc.On GD18.5, half of the dams were euthanized for the evaluation of term fetus, placenta, and resorptions. Gestation length, parturition, and neonatal outcomes were evaluated in the other half. Five minutes of daily (low dose) exposure during pregnancy resulted in reduced birthweight, and litter size was not altered; however, the number of male pups per litter was higher. Besides, placental wet weight was increased and fetal to placental weight ratio was decreased in male fetuses, showing a sex-specific effect. At the end of gestation, females from the Cannabis group presented reduced maternal net body weight gain, despite a slight increase in their daily food intake compared to the control group. In conclusion, our results indicate that smoking marijuana during pregnancy even at low doses can be embryotoxic and fetotoxic.
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