Press ReleaseDate: 04-13-12
Name: Jerry Carey Phone: 856-566-6171
Possible Connection between Air Pollution and Tuberculosis Susceptibility
"In laboratory experiments using DEP generated from an automobile diesel engine as model air pollutant particles, and blood samples gathered from 20 healthy individuals, we demonstrated that exposure to DEP makes cells less responsive," said Schwander. "The cells, in effect, became desensitized to stimulation with the bacteria that cause TB," he explained. "This effect was even greater in cells that had prior exposure to DEP than in those that had concurrent DEP and Mycobacterium tuberculosis exposure."
Tuberculosis is estimated to afflict approximately 8-10 million people and to cause 1.5 million deaths each year worldwide. The incidence of the disease is particularly high in low- and middle-income countries that are experiencing rapid industrial growth and increases in motor vehicle traffic in densely populated urban areas. By the year 2030, scientists estimate that 50 percent of the world's population will live in urban environments.
"Because there is already epidemiological evidence that connects tuberculosis to cigarette smoking and some forms of indoor air pollution, it seemed logical to look at outdoor air pollution for a similar correlation," Schwander added. "The models we used indicated that this may, in fact, be the case. The next step is to see if these results can be confirmed by larger epidemiological studies, conducted in a real world environment."
Media interested in interviewing Dr. Schwander should contact Jerry Carey, UMDNJ News Service, at 856-566-6171 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is New Jersey's only health sciences university with more than 6,000 students on five campuses attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and New Jersey's only school of public health. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, which provides a continuum of healthcare services with multiple locations throughout the state.