why is it more dangerous for women?

It is now accepted that air pollution has deleterious effects on our health. In particular at the level respiratory. But scientists are still trying to understand the mechanisms of action on our body.

This is what Dr. Hemshekhar Mahadevappa, from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, has done, focusing in particular on possible differences by sex. Why did he take this line of thought? “We already knew that there were gender differences in respiratory diseases such as asthma”he recalls.

So they decided to investigate potential differences in the face of fine particles by analyzing blood plasma, a fluid responsible for transporting various cells and proteins through the body.

His team brought together 10 volunteers, half of whom were women. All were in good health and non-smokers. Each spent 4 hours breathing filtered air, then air containing 3 different rates of exhaust gases: 20, 50 or 150 micrograms of PM2.5 fine particles per cubic meter. They had a 4-week break between each exposure.

Proteins involved in inflammation

The volunteers then provided blood samples 24 hours after each exposure. Extensive analysis of each participant’s blood plasma showed changes in levels for various proteins in all participants after exposure to fine particles. But these alterations were more marked in women.

Among the proteins concerned, some are known to play a role in inflammation, the formation of blood clots, cardiovascular diseases and the immune system. This could indicate that air pollution is even more dangerous for women than for men.

“We need to know even more about the respective responses of female and male organisms to these particles of pollution”the authors point out. “This would allow us to adapt the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of respiratory diseases. »

One more proof that scientific research must finally pay as much attention to women as to men.

* In collaboration with two other research groups from the University of Manitoba and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.


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