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Air Pollution as an Aggravating Factor in Brain and Optic Nerve Inflammatory Processes: A Metallomic Study

Grant number: 23/12643-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2024
Effective date (End): February 28, 2025
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Medicine - Pathological Anatomy and Clinical Pathology
Principal Investigator:Monique Matsuda
Grantee:Monique Matsuda
Host Investigator: Paolo Vineis
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina (FM). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Imperial College London, England  

Abstract

Scientific evidence is compelling in asserting that air pollution is a global problem that significantly impacts human health, causing premature death and exacerbating serious diseases in various organs of the body. In recent years, many studies have linked exposure to air pollution to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, stroke, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. In this context, heavy metals associated with particulate matter from atmospheric pollutants are known to accumulate in the body and chronically contribute to the development of neurodegenerative diseases. To expand our understanding of the effects of heavy metals on the nervous system, samples from the brain, optic nerve, and other structures obtained from autopsies at SVOC-USP will be studied using the metalomics method involving bioimaging by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and immunohistochemistry for proteins associated with neurotoxicity. The neuropathological condition will be observed through macroscopic examination and immunohistochemistry. Additionally, individual exposure to air pollution will be analyzed through pulmonary anthracosis and using the air pollution monitoring system provided by CETESB. The obtained data will be adjusted for lifestyle habits, socioeconomic status, years of residence in the city of São Paulo, and other intervention factors. This study will be part of the thematic project FAPESP number 2022/06944-0 and will involve a multidisciplinary team of researchers to enhance our knowledge of the effects of air pollutant exposure on the nervous system. I emphasize that my research internship at Imperial College London will provide me with the opportunity to learn about exposome interpretation in epidemiological health, as I will have access to state-of-the-art methods in metalomics alongside leading researchers. The proposed study will introduce strategic innovations to design and strengthen public policies, potentially crucial in preventing the consequences of urban pollution on neurodegenerative diseases, and it will be essential for my professional development as a scientific researcher.

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