Animal study evaluated the effect of fine particulate matter in the later stages of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

For years, the Experimental Air Pollution Laboratory (LIM-05), from Faculdade de Medicina da USP (FMUSP), has contributed with several studies on the effects of air pollution on different lung diseases. This time, research by biologist Natália de Souza Xavier Costa evaluated, in mice, the effects of fine particulate matter on Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), in the later stages of inflammation, when the lung tissue is recovering. The data suggests that pollution compromises the response of macrophages and the activation of lymphocytes, organism defense cells, resulting in a delay of the inflammation’s resolution and impairment of recovery and healing of acute lung injury.

The study was carried out during Natália's master's degree, under the guidance of professor Luiz Fernando Ferraz da Silva, aided by the Foundation of Research Support of the State of São Paulo (Fapesp), which also financed the thematic project of ​​which the research is a part of. The work was selected for theuniversal call of the National Council for Scientific Development andTechnological Research (CNPq) and an article was published on September 2020, in Scientific Report.

“We observed that exposure to air pollution delays the resolution ofpulmonary inflammation, resulting in impaired recovery and healing of thelung injury”.

The researcher says that ARDS is characterized by a condition ofacute respiratory failure, caused by diffuse damage to the alveoli(lung cells where gas exchange occurs) and pulmonary edema withhigh protein content. It can be triggered for several reasons such aspneumonia, aspiration of gastric contents, pancreatitis and even bacterial and viral infections, such as Covid-19. Well before the pandemic, a 2016 study, when analyzing 50 countries, showed that the cases of ARDS representedabout 10% of ICU admissions.

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