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Grantee Research Project Results

NCER Grantee Research Project Results

Berkeley/Stanford Children’s Environmental Health Center

EPA Grant Number: R834596
Center: UC Berkeley/Stanford Children’s Environment Health Center
Center Director: Tager, Ira
Title: Berkeley/Stanford Children’s Environmental Health Center
Investigators: Hammond, S. Katharine , Balmes, John R. , Gould, Jeffery , Hubbard, Alan , Lurmann, Fred , Mann, Jennifer , Mortimer, Kathleen , Nadeau, Kari , Shaw, Gary , Tager, Ira
Institution: University of California - Berkeley , Sonoma Technology, Inc. , Stanford University
EPA Project Officer: Callan, Richard
Project Period: May 7, 2010 through May 6, 2013 (Extended to May 6, 2014)
Project Amount: $1,091,783
RFA: Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers: Formative Centers (with NIEHS) (2009)
Research Category: Children's Health

Description:

Objective:

The overall goal of the Berkeley/Stanford Children’s Environment Health (Pre)Center (CHP-C) is to study the effects of in utero and childhood exposure to ambient air pollutants and bioaerosols on birth outcomes (including low birth weight, small for gestational age, structural birth defects), T-cell regulatory function and the relation of these early life exposures on the occurrence of asthma in the lower half Central Valley of California (San Joaquin Valley— SJV; Stockton, CA to Bakersfield). The SJV is the fastest-growing area of California (16.1% growth in 2000-2007 compared to 7.9% for entire state) with an ethnically diverse population, industrial farming and growing cities.

Approach:

The Center will test the following hypotheses through 3 projects:

Project 1:
Hypothesis-- The associations between adverse pregnancy outcomes (low birth weight [LBW], pre-term and small for gestation age) and exposure to ambient air pollutants and bacterial endotoxin are increased in women who reside in impoverished neighborhoods and are socially disadvantaged at the individual level.

Project 2:
Hypothesis:— Exposure to specific air pollutants and mixtures of air pollutants during critical periods of fetal organ development are associated with structural birth defects (so-called “congenital” anomalies or birth defects).

Project 3:
Hypothesis-- The reported associations between ambient air pollution and bacterial endotoxin, asthma onset and asthma exacerbation are mediated through pollutant/endotoxin alterations of regulatory T-cells (Treg), cells that can help control the response of the immune system. Furthermore these effects on Treg are related to exposure in the year prior to specimen collection and exposure during the late 1st and early 2nd trimesters when T-cell differentiation and function begin to develop. T cells are developed by 8.2 weeks and T cell receptor differentiation occurs first in the 10th week. Further development and maturation occur in the second and third trimester and throughout life).

A combination of laboratory and field studies measured with basic immunology and highly refined estimated individual-level exposure will be employed. Data analyses will focus on causal statistical methods (CSM5).

Expected Results:

Our goal is to provide a unifying mechanism that links reported air pollutant associations with asthma and adverse birth outcomes based on an understanding of pollutant effects on Treg function. The combination of refined exposures, study of basic immunology and application of advanced CSMs will provide unique research insights into developmental impacts of environmental exposures on children and, through use of causal statistical methods, will provide more accurate and complete estimates of exposure-response functions need for asthma risk characterization from air pollutants.

Supplemental Keywords:

ambient air, particulates, oxidants, nitrogen oxides, epidemiology, immunology, causal statistical methods, exposure assessment, asthma, San Joaquin Valley, CA, EPA Region 9

Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
R834596C001 Effect of Multi-Level Environmental Exposure on Birth Outcomes
R834596C002 Exposure to Air Pollutants and Risk of Birth Defects
R834596C003 Ambient Pollutant/Bioaerosol Effects on Treg Function

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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