This study is performed at the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Lund University in Sweden.

Preeclampsia (PE) is today the most common cause of death for both infants and mothers during pregnancy. Results from recent epidemiological studies indicate that air pollution is a risk factor for PE in line with other known risk factors.

The aim was
1) To understand the biological mechanisms underlying the effects of air pollution on PE.
2) Identifying the contribution of specific sources and types of pollutants.

We conducted an epidemiological study, linking registry data with air pollutants modelled at each woman’s workplace and residential location divided into e.g. emission sources and particle fractions.  We also exposed trophoblast cells to particles collected in high-risk areas identified in the epidemiological study.

In summary, we found that air pollution particles, especially small soot particles, affected the risk of developing preeclampsia. Air pollution particles also had an effect on the exposed trophoblast cells, which may contribute to the pathogenesis of several adverse pregnancy outcomes including preeclampsia.

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