Diesel exhaust associated with lethargy in offspring

Mar 23, 2010

Breathing diesel exhaust during pregnancy is associated with sluggishness in offspring. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Particle and Fibre Toxicology studied the effects of pollution exposure in mice, finding that the offspring of mothers who breathed diesel fumes while pregnant were less likely to show spontaneous movement.

Ken Takeda, from Tokyo University of Science, Japan, worked with a team of researchers to carry out the study in pregnant mice, randomly assigned to be exposed to diesel exhaust or filtered air. He said, "We then took ten random male pups from each group and monitored their movement at 10 minute intervals for 3 days. We found that the mice whose mothers had breathed the fumes showed significantly less spontaneous motor activity and that this inactivity was associated with alterations in of neurotransmitters".

Spontaneous movement rates are a validated model for measuring the effect of or neural transmission to peripheral muscles. For instance tranquilizers are known to diminish brain activity and this leads to a decrease in movement. The researchers speculate that certain components, such as , in the diesel exhaust may be translocated into the offspring of mice, disturbing the normal timetable of development in offspring and leading to the behavioral and physiological abnormalities seen in this study. Alternatively, or additionally, diesel exhaust exposure may affect the mother's behavior toward the pups after birth, which could also cause lethargy and altered .

Takeda concludes, "Further investigations are needed to clarify the critical factors or components responsible for the effects on offspring. Since the concentration of diesel exhaust we used was close to the environmental quality standard of air in Japan, these findings warrant a revisiting of present pollution standards in each country of the world".

Explore further: Loud talking and horseplay in car results in more serious incidents for teen drivers

More information: In utero exposure to a low concentration of diesel exhaust affects spontaneous locomotor activity and monoaminergic system in male mice, Tomoharu Suzuki, Shigeru Oshio, Mari Iwata, Hisayo Saburi, Takashi Odagiri, Tadashi Udagawa, Isamu Sugawara, Masakazu Umezawa and Ken Takeda, Particle and Fibre Toxicology 2010, 7:7; doi:10.1186/1743-8977-7-7

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Diesel exhaust inhalation stresses your brain

Mar 11, 2008

If the smell of diesel exhaust isn't enough to make you avoid getting a lungful, new research now shows that even a short exposure to the fumes can affect your brain. A study published in the open access journal Particle an ...

Diesel exhaust exposure biomarker found

Jul 31, 2007

A Japanese-U.S. science team has created the first test to detect a biomarker for human exposure to diesel exhaust, a probable human carcinogen.

Traffic pollution - measuring the real damage

Sep 21, 2005

Traffic fumes from individual vehicles are decreasing every year as engines become cleaner, but there are more vehicles on the road and the number continues to grow. The long term effects of living in urban ...

Recommended for you

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

7 hours ago

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

Obama: 8 million signed up for health care (Update)

21 hours ago

President Barack Obama said Thursday 8 million Americans have signed up for health care through new insurance exchanges, besting expectations and offering new hope to Democrats who are defending the law ahead ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...