Maternal exposure to ambient air pollution during pregnancy and lipid profile in umbilical cord blood samples; a cross-sectional study

Environ Pollut. 2020 Jun;261:114195. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2020.114195. Epub 2020 Feb 21.


Adverse health effects of exposure to air pollution have been investigated in many previous studies. However, there is no study available on the association between maternal exposure to air pollution during pregnancy and cord blood lipid profile. This study, based on 150 mother-newborn pairs residing in Sabzevar, Iran (2018), evaluated the association of exposure to ambient air pollution as well as traffic indicators (total street length in different buffers around residential address and distance to major roads) during entire pregnancy with lipid levels cord blood lipid profile. Concentrations of PM10, PM2.5, and PM1 at maternal residential address were estimated using land use regression (LUR) models. We measured triglyceride (TAG), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), total cholesterol (TC) levels and TC/HDL-C and TAG/HDL-C ratio in the cord blood samples to characterize their lipid profile. Multiple linear regression models were developed to estimate the association of exposure to air pollution and traffic indicators with cord blood lipid profile controlled for relevant covariates. Higher concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10 were associated with higher levels of TAG, TC, HDL-C, TC/HDL-C, and TAG/HDL-C in cord blood samples. Moreover, higher concentration of PM1 was associated with higher levels of TAG, TC and LDL-C. There was also a positive association between total street length in 100 m buffer around home and serum levels of TC, TAG, LDL-C and TC/HDL ratio (β = 3.73, 95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.76, 5.71; β = 2.75, 95% CI: 0.97, 4.53; β = 1.87, 95% CI: 0.64, 3.09; β = 0.06, 95% CI: 0.01, 0.11, respectively). However, the associations for total street length in larger buffers and distance to major roads were not statistically significant. Our findings support a relationship between exposure to air pollution during pregnancy and increase in cord blood lipid levels.

Keywords: Childhood; Fatty acids; Neonate; Noncommunicable diseases; Obesity; Prenatal exposure.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants* / analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood* / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Iran
  • Lipids* / blood
  • Maternal Exposure*
  • Pregnancy


  • Air Pollutants
  • Lipids