Project Details

Early Career

Status: Funded - Closed

In utero biomass smoke exposure, pro-oxidant/antioxidant imbalance and lung function in rural Ghana

Alison Lee, M.D.


BACKGROUND: Though ambient air pollution remains an important concern in much of the world, household air pollution from cook stoves burning biomass fuels dominates total population exposures. Household air pollution is responsible for 1.6 million premature deaths annually, largely secondary to lower respiratory tract infections in children, and 35% of COPD cases worldwide.

GAP: To the best of our knowledge, no prior study has quantitatively measured in utero household air pollution exposure and investigated the mechanism by which household air pollution increases a child’s risk for infectious and pulmonary morbidity and mortality.

HYPOTHESIS: We hypothesize that in utero household air pollution exposure chronically increases fetal oxidative stress to which the fetus is unable to adapt, leading to an oxidant imbalance. This imbalance impacts lung development, detectable by lung function measurements at one month of age.

METHODS: We will recruit 150 mother-infant pairs from The Ghana Biomass Project, collect cord blood and placenta samples, and perform infant pulmonary function testing. Cord blood will be analyzed for markers of oxidant imbalance, including isoprostane, nitrotyrosine, DNA adducts, and total antioxidant capacity.

RESULTS: Pending.

IMPACT: Our proposed research will elucidate the mechanisms by which in utero household air pollution predisposes children to pulmonary disease. Understanding these mechanisms will allow development of novel interventions, such as increased maternal antioxidant intake during pregnancy, to reduce household air pollution-related infant morbidity and mortality.

Supervising Institution:
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Joseph Graziano

Project Location:
New York

Award Amount: