Parental PM2.5 Exposure-Promoted Development of Metabolic Syndrome in Offspring Is Associated With the Changes of Immune Microenvironment

Toxicol Sci. 2019 Aug 1;170(2):415-426. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfz109.


Parental exposure to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has been associated with some of adverse health outcomes in offspring. The association between parental PM2.5 exposure and the development of metabolic syndrome (MetS) in offspring, and the effects of parental PM2.5 exposure on the susceptibility of offspring mice to PM2.5, has not been evaluated. The C57BL/6 parental mice (male and female mice) were exposed to filtered air (FA) or concentrated PM2.5 (PM) using Shanghai-METAS for a total of 16 weeks. At week 12 during the exposure, we allowed the parental male and female mice to breed offspring mice. The male offspring mice were divided into 4 groups and exposed to PM and FA again. The results showed that whether the parental mice were exposed to PM2.5 or not, the offspring mice exposure to PM2.5 appeared the elevation of blood pressure, insulin resistance, impairment of glucose tolerance, and dyslipidemia when compared to the offspring mice exposure to FA. More importantly, no matter what the offspring mice were exposed to, parental PM exposure overwhelmingly impacted the fasting blood insulin, homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance, serous low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and total cholesterol, splenic T helper cell 17 (Th17) and Treg cells, serous interleukin (IL)-17A, IL-6, and IL-10 in offspring mice. The results suggested that the parental exposure to air pollution might induce the development of MetS in offspring and might enhance the susceptibility of offspring to environmental hazards. The effects of parental PM exposure on offspring might be related to the changes of immune microenvironment.

Keywords: PM2.5; immune microenvironment; metabolic syndrome; parental exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Body Weight
  • Cytokines / analysis
  • Female
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / chemically induced*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Particulate Matter / toxicity*
  • Paternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Th17 Cells / immunology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cytokines
  • Lipids
  • Particulate Matter