Association of household air pollution with cellular and humoral immune responses among women in rural Bangladesh

Environ Pollut. 2022 Apr 15;299:118892. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2022.118892. Epub 2022 Jan 22.


Household air pollution (HAP) arising from combustion of biomass fuel (BMF) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in low-income countries. Air pollution may stimulate pro-inflammatory responses by activating diverse immune cells and cyto/chemokine expression, thereby contributing to diseases. We aimed to study cellular immune responses among women chronically exposed to HAP through use of BMF for domestic cooking. Among 200 healthy, non-smoking women in rural Bangladesh, we assessed exposure to HAP by measuring particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5), black carbon (BC) and carbon monoxide (CO), through use of personal monitors RTI MicroPEM™ and Lascar CO logger respectively, for 48 h. Blood samples were collected following HAP exposure assessment and were analyzed for immunoprofiling by flow cytometry, plasma IgE by immunoassay analyzer and cyto/chemokine response from monocyte-derived-macrophages (MDM) and -dendritic cells (MDDC) by multiplex immunoassay. In multivariate linear regression model, a doubling of PM2.5 was associated with small increments in immature/early B cells (CD19+CD38+) and plasmablasts (CD19+CD38+CD27+). In contrast, a doubling of CO was associated with 1.20% reduction in CD19+ B lymphocytes (95% confidence interval (CI) = -2.36, -0.01). A doubling of PM2.5 and BC each was associated with 3.12% (95%CI = -5.85, -0.38) and 4.07% (95%CI = -7.96, -0.17) decrements in memory B cells (CD19+CD27+), respectively. Exposure to CO was associated with increased plasma IgE levels (beta(β) = 240.4, 95%CI = 3.06, 477.8). PM2.5 and CO exposure was associated with increased MDM production of CXCL10 (β = 12287, 95%CI = 1038, 23536) and CCL5 (β = 835.7, 95%CI = 95.5, 1576), respectively. Conversely, BC exposure was associated with reduction in MDDC-produced CCL5 (β = -3583, 95%CI = -6358, -807.8) and TNF-α (β = -15521, 95%CI = -28968, -2074). Our findings suggest that chronic HAP exposure through BMF use adversely affects proportions of B lymphocytes, particularly memory B cells, plasma IgE levels and functions of antigen presenting cells in rural women.

Keywords: Biomass fuel; Black carbon; Carbon monoxide; Chemokines; IgE; Immune cells; Particulate matter 2.5.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants* / analysis
  • Air Pollution*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor* / analysis
  • Bangladesh
  • Cooking
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Humoral
  • Particulate Matter / analysis


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter