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Impact of traffic-related air pollution on the expression of Platanus orientalis pollen allergens

Sedghy, Farnaz, Sankian, Mojtaba, Moghadam, Maliheh, Ghasemi, Ziba, Mahmoudi, Mahmoud, Varasteh, Abdol-Reza
International journal of biometeorology 2017 v.61 no.1 pp. 1-9
Platanus orientalis, air pollutants, air pollution, air quality, allergens, asthma, bioclimatology, defense mechanisms, gene expression, immunoblotting, messenger RNA, pollen, protein synthesis, proteins, public policy, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, scanning electron microscopy, traffic, Iran
Air pollutants and their interaction with environmental allergens have been considered as an important reason for the recent increase in the prevalence of allergic diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate the traffic pollution effect, as a stressor, on Platanus orientalis pollen allergens messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein expression. P. orientalis pollen grains were collected along main streets of heavy traffic and from unpolluted sites in Mashhad city, in northeast Iran. The pollen samples were examined by scanning electron microscopy. To assess the abundance of pollen allergens (Pla or 1, Pla or 2, and Pla or 3) from polluted and unpolluted sites, immunoblotting was performed. Moreover, the sequences encoding P. orientalis allergens were amplified using real-time PCR. Scanning electron microscopy showed a number of particles of 150–550 nm on the surface of pollen from polluted sites. Also, protein and gene expression levels of Pla or 1 and Pla or 3 were considerably greater in pollen samples from highly polluted areas than in pollen from unpolluted areas (p < 0.05). In contrast, no statically significant difference in Pla or 2 protein and mRNA expression level was found between samples from the two areas. We found greater expression of allergens involved in plant defense mechanisms (Pla or 1 and Pla or 3) in polluted sites than in unpolluted ones. The high expression of these proteins can lead to an increase in the prevalence of allergic diseases. These findings suggest the necessity of supporting public policies aimed at controlling traffic pollution to improve air quality and prevent the subsequent clinical outcomes and new cases of asthma.