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Changes in extrapulmonary organs and serum enzyme biomarkers after chronic exposure to Buenos Aires air pollution

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Urban air pollution is a serious environmental problem in developing countries worldwide, and health is a pressing issue in the megacities in Latin America. Buenos Aires is a megacity with an estimated moderate Air Quality Index ranging from 42 to 74 μg/m3. Exposure to Urban Air Particles from Buenos Aires (UAP-BA) induces morphological and physiological respiratory alterations; nevertheless, no studies on extrapulmonary organs have been performed. The aim of the present study was to explore the health effects of chronic exposure to UAP-BA (1, 6, 9, and 12 months) on the liver, heart, and serum risk biomarkers. BALB/c mice were exposed to UAP-BA or filtered air (FA) in inhalation chambers, and liver and heart histopathology, oxidative metabolism (superoxide dismutase, SOD; catalase, CAT; lipoperoxidation, TBARS), amino transaminases (AST, ALT) as serum risk biomarkers, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), paraxonase-1 (PON-1), and lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) were evaluated. Chronic exposure to real levels of UAP in Buenos Aires led to alterations in extrapulmonary organs associated with inflammation and oxidative imbalance and to changes in liver and heart risk biomarkers. Our results may reflect the impact of the persistent air pollution in Buenos Aires on individuals living in this Latin American megacity.

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The authors specially thank Dr. Patricia Mandalunis and Ms. Mariela Lacave for their technical expertise on the histological study.


This work was partially funded by Grants: PICT 2017-1309, PICT 2017-4549, and PICT 2015-0853 from the National Agency for the Promotion of Science and Technology, Argentina.

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Correspondence to Guillermo Alberto Maglione.

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The experimental protocol was approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Buenos Aires, and all procedures were conducted in keeping with the 6344/ 96 regulations of the National Drug, Food, and Medical Technology Administration (ANMAT) of Argentina.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Maglione, G.A., Kurtz, M.L., Orona, N.S. et al. Changes in extrapulmonary organs and serum enzyme biomarkers after chronic exposure to Buenos Aires air pollution. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2020).

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  • Buenos Aires
  • Urban air pollution
  • Chronic exposure
  • Liver
  • Heart
  • Serum risk biomarkers