Exposure to diesel fumes from traffic pollution leads to increased asthma severity in children, according to a new study by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s.
Diesel exhaust particles increase blood levels of a protein (IL-17A) associated with several chronic inflammatory diseases, according to researchers. The study, which involved people and mice, showed that neutralizing IL-17A prevented inflammation of airways.
“Blocking (the protein) may be a useful potential therapeutic strategy to counteract the asthma-promoting effects of traffic-related air pollution, especially in highly exposed, severe allergic asthmatics,” said Dr. Gurjit Khurana Hershey, director of asthma research at Cincinnati Children’s and senior author of the study.
Hershey and her colleagues studied 235 children and teens with asthma. The researchers plotted each person’s home address and estimated their diesel exposure attributable to traffic.