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Increased Risk of Gestational Hypertension by Periconceptional Exposure to Ambient Air Pollution and Effect Modification by Prenatal Depression.

Hypertension 2024 March 28
BACKGROUND: Air pollution has been associated with gestational hypertension (GH) and preeclampsia, but susceptible windows of exposure and potential vulnerability by comorbidities, such as prenatal depression, remain unclear.

METHODS: We ascertained GH and preeclampsia cases in a prospective pregnancy cohort in Los Angeles, CA. Daily levels of ambient particles (with a diameter of ≤10 μm [PM10 ] or ≤2.5 μm [PM2.5 ]), nitrogen dioxide, and ozone were averaged for each week from 12 weeks preconception to 20 gestational weeks. We used distributed lag models to identify susceptible exposure windows, adjusting for potential confounders. Analyses were additionally stratified by probable prenatal depression to explore population vulnerability.

RESULTS: Among 619 participants, 60 developed preeclampsia and 42 developed GH. We identified a susceptible window for exposure to PM2.5 from 1 week preconception to 11 weeks postconception: higher exposure (5 µg/m3 ) within this window was associated with an average of 8% (95% CI, 1%-15%) higher risk of GH. Among participants with probable prenatal depression (n=179; 32%), overlapping sensitive windows were observed for all pollutants from 8 weeks before to 10 weeks postconception with increased risk of GH (PM2.5 , 16% [95% CI, 3%-31%]; PM10 , 39% [95% CI, 13%-72%]; nitrogen dioxide, 65% [95% CI, 17%-134%]; and ozone, 45% [95% CI, 9%-93%]), while the associations were close to null among those without prenatal depression. Air pollutants were not associated with preeclampsia in any analyses.

CONCLUSIONS: We identified periconception through early pregnancy as a susceptible window of air pollution exposure with an increased risk of GH. Prenatal depression increases vulnerability to air pollution exposure and GH.

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