Association Between Placental Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHS), Oxidative Stress, and Preterm Delivery: A Case–Control Study

  • Priyanka Agarwal
  • Laxmi Singh
  • Madhu Anand
  • Ajay Taneja


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are known to disturb the antioxidant defense system, which may indirectly contribute to induction of early pregnancy in women. Therefore, the present investigation was designed to offer preliminary information about exposure to PAHs by estimating their placental levels and its association with oxidative stress as well as with preterm birth. Placenta tissue samples were drawn after delivery from 84 healthy pregnant women, recruited at a local nursing home of Agra, India, and levels of PAHs were quantified by gas chromatograph equipped with flame ionization detector. To evaluate redox status biomarkers, malondialdehyde (MDA) and glutathione (GSH) were determined in placenta tissue. Significantly elevated levels of benzo(a)pyrene and MDA while decreasing trend of GSH was found in women with preterm delivery group (study) than women with a full-term delivery group (control). Results demonstrated higher, but statistically insignificant (p > 0.05), levels of naphthalene, anthracene, fluorene, pyrene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene, dibenzo(ah)anthracene, and benzo(ghi)perylene in the study group than the control group. However, higher and lower molecular weight PAHs showed significant correlation for the depletion trend of GSH sights upon an example of oxidative stress mechanism. Because of limited statistical power and absence of controlled confounders, this study does not provide an ample involvement of PAHs with preterm delivery but increased MDA and decreased GSH in cases than controls gives the possible contribution of PAHs to early delivery.



This work was supported by University Grant Commission Post Doctoral fellowship for Women (201617-PDFWM-2015-17-UTT-36837) and Department of Science and Technology, Societal of Research Fellowship “Disha” (DST/Disha/SoRF-PM/025/2013) for financial support and acknowledges, Head of Chemistry Department, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University, Agra for providing facilities.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals

Research protocol for the study was approved by the human ethics committee of S. N. Medical College, Agra.

Informed Consent

An informed consent was obtained from all subjects that were involved in the study.

Supplementary material

244_2017_455_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 12 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Priyanka Agarwal
    • 1
  • Laxmi Singh
    • 1
  • Madhu Anand
    • 1
  • Ajay Taneja
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryDr. B. R. Ambedkar UniversityAgraIndia

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