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Nanoparticles inhaled during pregnancy can infiltrate fetal tissues

Phoebe Stapleton Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute

Tiny particles inhaled during pregnancy could affect fetal growth and development, according to research in animal models funded by the NIEHS Outstanding New Environmental Scientist Program (ONES) program.

Phoebe Stapleton, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and a faculty member at Rutgers Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, has focused her ONES research on understanding the molecular mechanisms that impair blood flow to a developing fetus after exposure to environmental contaminants during pregnancy.

Using a rat model, Stapleton showed that nanosized pieces of the metal titanium dioxide inhaled by a pregnant rat could cross from the rat’s lungs into the placenta. A function of the placenta is to filter out substances that could harm the fetus. Stapleton’s work has shown that in the case of nanoparticles, the placenta is not an effective barrier.

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Source: NIEHS Environmental Factor – July 8, 2022

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