Air pollution raises insulin resistance risk in kids

Last Updated: Friday, May 10, 2013 - 11:22

Washington: Kids, who grow up in areas where there is an increase in air pollution, risk insulin resistance (the prescursor to diabetes), a new study has claimed.

Joachim Heinrich, study author, said that although toxicity differs between air pollutants, are all considered potent oxidisers that act either directly on lipids and proteins or indirectly through the activation of intracellular oxidant pathways.

He said that oxidative stress caused by exposure to air pollutants may therefore play a role in the development of insulin resistance.

In this new study by Elisabeth Thiering and Heinrich, Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen, Neuherberg, Germany, and colleagues, fasting blood samples were collected from 397 10-year-old kids within a follow-up of two prospective German birth cohort studies.

Individual-level exposures to traffic-related air pollutants at their birth address were estimated by analysing emission from road traffic in the neighbourhood, population density and land use in the area, and the association between air pollution and insulin resistance was calculated using a model adjusted for several possible confounders including socioeconomic status of the family, birthweight, pubertal status and BMI.

Models were also further adjusted for second-hand smoke exposure at home.

The scientists found that in all crude and adjusted models, levels of insulin resistance were greater in kids with higher exposure to air pollution. Insulin resistance increased by 17 percent for every 10.6 microg/m3 increase in ambient nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and 19 percent for every 6 micro(2 SDs) increase in particulate matter of up to 10 micrometre in diameter.

Proximity to the nearest major road raised insulin resistance by 7 percent per 500 metres.

Heinrich said that there is some evidence that air pollution is associated with lower birthweight and growth restrictions-also shown previously in one of the cohorts of the present study-which are known risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

The research has been published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD).


First Published: Friday, May 10, 2013 - 11:22

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