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Early-life Exposure to Widespread Environmental Toxicants and Health Risk: A Focus on the Immune and Respiratory Systems

Authors:

Junjun Cao ,

Laboratory of Environmental Medicine and Developmental Toxicology, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, China;Department of Pathology and Medical Biology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands;GRIAC Research Institute, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
About Junjun
MS
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Xijin Xu,

Laboratory of Environmental Medicine and Developmental Toxicology, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, China
About Xijin
PhD, MD
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Machteld N. Hylkema,

Department of Pathology and Medical Biology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands;GRIAC Research Institute, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
About Machteld N.
PhD
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Eddy Y. Zeng,

School of Environment, Guangzhou Key Laboratory of Environmental Exposure and Health, Guangdong Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution and Health, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China
About Eddy Y.
PhD
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Peter D. Sly,

Children's Health and Environment Program, Child Health Research Centre, The University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia
About Peter D.
MD, DSc
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William A. Suk,

Hazardous Substances Research Branch, Superfund Research Program, National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
About William A.
PhD
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Åke Bergman,

Swedish Toxicology Sciences Research Center (Swetox), Södertälje, Sweden
About Åke
PhD
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Xia Huo

Laboratory of Environmental Medicine and Developmental Toxicology, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, China;School of Environment, Guangzhou Key Laboratory of Environmental Exposure and Health, Guangdong Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution and Health, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China
About Xia
PhD, MD
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Abstract

Evidence has accumulated that exposure to widespread environmental toxicants, such as heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants, and tobacco smoke adversely affect fetal development and organ maturation, even after birth. The developing immune and respiratory systems are more sensitive to environmental toxicants due to their long-term physical development, starting from the early embryonic stage and persisting into early postnatal life, which requires complex signaling pathways that control proliferation and differentiation of highly heterogeneous cell types. In this review, we summarize the effect of early-life exposure to several widespread environmental toxicants on immune and lung development before and after birth, including the effects on immune cell counts, baseline characteristics of cell-mediated and humoral immunity, and alteration of lung structure and function in offspring. We also review evidence supporting the association between early-life exposure to environmental toxicants and risk for immune-related diseases and lung dysfunction in offspring in later life.
How to Cite: Cao, J., Xu, X., Hylkema, M.N., Zeng, E.Y., Sly, P.D., Suk, W.A., Bergman, Å. and Huo, X., 2016. Early-life Exposure to Widespread Environmental Toxicants and Health Risk: A Focus on the Immune and Respiratory Systems. Annals of Global Health, 82(1), pp.119–131. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.aogh.2016.01.023
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Published on 17 Jun 2016.
Peer Reviewed

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