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RESEARCH PAPER
 
CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
 
 

Effects of environmental pollution with aromatic hydrocarbons on endocrine and metabolic functions of the human placenta

Waldemar Wierzba 1  ,  
Iwona Bojar 3,  
 
1
University of Humanities and Economics in Łódź, UHE Satellite Campus in Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
2
Department of Gynecological Endocrinology, Medical University of Warsaw, Poland
3
Institute of Rural Health in Lublin, Poland
4
Center of Postgraduate Medical Education, Warsaw, Poland
KEYWORDS:
ABSTRACT:
Introduction. Phenol and 1-hydroxypyrene are biological markers of exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) that have certain negative effects on parenchymal organs such as the human placenta. The literature presents only few reports regarding the effects of elevated PAH levels on the functions of the human placenta. Objective. The aim of the work is to assess the effects of elevated PAH levels in excreted urine on the endocrine and metabolic functions of the human placenta obtained from a normal pregnancy. Material and methods. Tissue material from 50 afterbirths from Płock constituted a study group, whereas 50 afterbirths from Kutno constituted a control group. Immunohistochemical reactions with the peroxidase method using LSAB kits (DAKO, Denmark) were performed. The extent and intensity of reactions were analysed. The levels of phenols and 1-hydroxypyrene in the excreted urine of pregnant women (undergoing delivery) were detected using gas chromatography and colorimetry. The statistical analysis used the PQStat v.1.6.2 software; moreover, t-student and chi-square tests were used. Differences were considered to be significant at the significance level of 95% (p<0.05). Results. The levels of phenol and 1-hydroxypyrene in the excreted urine were demonstrated to be statistically significantly higher in patients living in the area of Płock. Statistically lower expression of placental glutathione transferase and lower immunohistochemical demonstration of the placental phosphatase activity were observed in placentas from Płock. It has been demonstrated that the expression of the oestrogen receptor activity and placental gonadotropin is significantly higher in placentas from areas not contaminated with aromatic hydrocarbons (Kutno). Conclusions. The course of pregnancy in the environment with elevated levels of aromatic hydrocarbons leads to impaired placental functioning and reduced endocrine and metabolic activity of the placenta.
 
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