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Air Pollution in Mexico City is Associated with the Development of Alzheimer’s Disease in Children and Young Adults

December 21, 2018
Missoula, MT, USA – A new study by researchers at the Universities of Montana, Valle de México, Boise State, Universidad Veracruzana, Instituto Nacional de Pediatría and Paul-Flechsig-Institute for Brain Research heightens together with German company Analytik Jena concerns over the evolving and relentless Alzheimer’s pathology observed in young Metropolitan Mexico City (MMC) urbanites. These findings are published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Mexico City children have lifetime exposures to concentrations of air pollutants above the current USA standards, including fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Metropolitan Mexico City is an example of extreme urban growth and serious environmental pollution and millions of children are involuntarily exposed to harmful concentrations of PM2.5 every day since conception.

This study focused on studying 507 CSF normal samples from children, teens and young adults average age 12.8±6.7 years from MMC and control cities with low levels of air pollutants, using a high affinity monoclonal non-phosphorylated tau antibody (Non-P-Tau) as a potential biomarker of AD and axonal damage. In 81 samples, researchers also measured total tau (T-Tau), tau phosphorylated at threonine 181 (P-Tau), amyloid-β1–42, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), insulin, leptin and inflammatory mediators. Authors documented by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) myelinated axonal size, and the pathology associated with combustion-derived nanoparticles-iron rich, highly oxidant CDNPs- in anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) white matter in 6 young residents (4 MMC, 2 controls). Non-P-Tau showed a strong increase with age significantly faster among MMC versus controls. Anterior cingulate cortex showed significant decrease in the average axonal size and CDNPs were associated with organelle pathology in MMC residents.

Non-P-Tau exhibited significant increases with age, an important finding in a young population where axonal changes are present and AD hallmarks are evolving steadily in the first two decades of life. Non-P-Tau is potentially an early biomarker of axonal damage and AD axonal pathology in highly exposed young populations.

Drs Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas and Lachmann commented air pollution is a serious public health issue and exposures to concentrations of air pollutants at or above the current standards have been linked to neuroinflammation and  high risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Jung et al., 2015 found a 138% risk of increase of AD per increase of 4.34 μg/m3 in PM2.5 suggesting long-term exposure to PM2.5, as well as ozone above the current US EPA standards are associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In the USA alone, 200 million people live in areas where pollutants such as ozone and fine particulate matter exceed the standards.

The international team of researchers stated efforts should be aimed to identify and mitigate environmental factors influencing the development of Alzheimer’s disease and neuroprotection of children and young adults ought to be a public health priority to halt the development of Alzheimer in the first two decades of life.

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NOTES FOR EDITORS
Full study: Calderón-Garcidueñas L, Mukherjee PS, Waniek K, Holzer M, Chao CK, Thompson C, Ruiz-Ramos R, Calderón-Garcidueñas A, Franco-Lira M, Reynoso-Robles R, Gónzalez-Maciel A, Lachmann I (2018) Non-Phosphorylated Tau in Cerebrospinal Fluid is a Marker of Alzheimer’s Disease Continuum in Young Urbanites Exposed to Air Pollution. J Alzheimers Dis 66 (4) 1437–1451 (doi: 10.3233/JAD-180853).

Contacts
Ingolf Lachmann, PhD
Analytik Jena/ Roboscreen GmbH
+49 341 9897340
ingolf.lachmann@aj-roboscreen.com

Lilian Calderón-Garcidueňas, MA, MD, PhD
ENVIRONMENTAL NEUROPREVENTION LABORATORY
University of Montana
+1 406 243 4785
lilian.calderon-garciduenas@umontana.edu

About the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (JAD) is an international multidisciplinary journal to facilitate progress in understanding the etiology, pathogenesis, epidemiology, genetics, behavior, treatment and psychology of Alzheimer’s disease. The journal publishes research reports, reviews, short communications, book reviews, and letters-to-the-editor. Groundbreaking research that has appeared in the journal includes novel therapeutic targets, mechanisms of disease and clinical trial outcomes. JAD has an Impact Factor of 3.476 according to the 2017 Journal Citation Reports (Clarivate Analytics, 2018). j-alz.com