Do Maternal Air Pollution Exposures Have Long-Lasting Influences on Child Blood Pressure?
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See related article, pp 194–201
Potentially remediable prenatal as well as childhood environmental exposures may contribute to the development of the major cardiovascular disease risk factor, elevated blood pressure (BP). Although several prenatal environmental exposures have been considered for effects on offspring BP, the early origins of hypertension are still not well understood, and longitudinal studies are few. Individual studies have reported higher offspring BP after exposures to greater prenatal maternal weight gain,1 higher maternal lead levels2; higher levels of specific groups of persistent organic chemicals (dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene and hexachlorobenzene)3; and maternal smoking in pregnancy.4 A relatively sparse but accumulating literature also implicates maternal prenatal exposure to air pollution as a potential influence on child BP. The California-based Children’s Health Study of a cohort recruited in kindergarten reported that higher maternal ambient NO2, (but not PM2.5) exposures, spatiotemporally estimated retrospectively for the third trimester of pregnancy, were associated with higher child BP at age 11.5
In this current issue of Hypertension, Zhang et al6 add to the growing evidence that maternal exposure to air pollution may influence offspring BP. In a US cohort from Boston, MA, they found that higher third trimester levels of ambient fine particle (PM2.5) pollution were associated with higher child systolic BP measured at least once between ages 3 and 9. Evaluating BP outcomes beyond the neonatal period, their study adds to insight gathered from another Eastern Massachusetts study, Project Viva, where van Rossem and et al7 found neonatal systolic BP was higher with higher levels of short-term as well as third trimester averages of maternal ambient spatiotemporally resolved estimates of black carbon and PM2.5 exposure.
The Zhang Boston Birth Cohort study design has both strengths and challenges, compared with that …