2012 Volume 35 Issue 8 Pages 1238-1243
Urban particulate matter (UPM) has been shown to have an aggravating effect on Th2-associated immune systems in adult mice. However, the effects of fetal exposure to UPM on immune response in offspring have not been elucidated. In the present study, we administered UPM (200 µg/animal) by intratracheal injection to pregnant dams on days 7 and 14 of gestation. Subsequently, 9- and 24-week-old male offspring were intratracheally injected with ovalbumin (OVA) (four times at 2-week intervals) to create a mouse model of bronchial asthma. We then evaluated the progression of allergic manifestations in the offspring through histological findings, the number of inflammatory cells in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), and protein concentration of cytokines and chemokines in BALF 5, 10, 15, and 30 weeks after birth. Histological examination showed that fetal exposure to UPM alone caused slight eosinophil and lymphocyte infiltration in the submucosa of the airway and bronchial epithelium and significant increases in the number of macrophages. Moreover, postnatal intratracheal administration of OVA to offspring exposed to UPM in utero caused significant increases in the numbers of macrophages, eosinophils, and lymphocytes and in the concentrations of their relevant cytokines and chemokines, showing that fetal exposure to UPM aggravated the chemically sensitized immune system of male offspring.