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Circulating microRNAs as novel organ specific biomarkers of disease risks caused by environmental exposure to air pollution in utero (R-10554)

Exposure to air pollution is known to be an important factor in both the development and exacerbation of pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases. In order to prevent these disease risks, particularly in individuals that are more susceptible to environmental exposures, the availability of molecular markers that reflect early pathological responses to air pollution in early life, would be of great added value. Based on recent research findings, we hypothesize that tissue specific microRNAs (miRNAs) that are released by the lung and cardiovascular system into the circulation upon exposure to air pollution in utero following placental transfer of toxicants, are potential candidates for such biomarkers. To identify miRNA profiles which are associated with physico-chemical characteristics of air pollution and physiological changes in early life, we propose to measure circulating miRNA profiles in available serum samples from newborns participating in the ENVIRONAGE study. MiRNA expression levels will be determined by next-generation sequencing, which also allows for the identification of entirely new miRNAs. The outcome of these studies can be applied for the identification of susceptible subpopulations and individuals which may benefit from more targeted disease prevention strategies. From a clinical perspective, miRNA profiles in early life may advance the development of a diagnostic instrument that can potentially also be used for monitoring the effect of pulmonary disease treatment in adult life.
Date:1 Mar 2020  →  Today
Keywords:air pollution, cardiovasculair diseases
Disciplines:Environmental impact and risk assessment, Environmental health and safety
Project type:Collaboration project