The Effect of Nitric Oxide Pollution on Oxidative Stress in Pregnant Women Living in Durban, South Africa

  • Samantha M. Anderson
  • Rajen N. Naidoo
  • Prithiksha Ramkaran
  • Alisa Phulukdaree
  • Sheena Muttoo
  • Kareshma Asharam
  • Anil A. Chuturgoon


The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effect nitric oxide (NO x ) pollution had on maternal serum 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) levels and neonatal outcomes in pregnant women living in Durban, South Africa (SA). Women, in their third trimester with singleton pregnancies, were recruited from the heavily industrialised south (n = 225) and less industrialised north (n = 152). Biomarker levels of serum 8-OHdG concentrations were analysed, and the women were genotyped for glutathione-S-transferases pi 1 (GSTP1) and glutathione-S-transferases mu 1 (GSTM1) polymorphisms. The level of NO x pollution in the two regions was determined by using land use regression modelling. The serum 8-OHdG was shown to correlate significantly with NO x levels; this relationship was strengthened in the south (p < 0.05). This relationship was still observed after adjusting for maternal characteristics. GSTP1 was significantly associated with the south region, where the variant (AG+GG) genotype was associated with increased 8-OHdG levels as a result of NO x exposure (p < 0.05). GSTM1 null genotype was associated with a positive correlation between NO x and 8-OHdG levels (p < 0.05). NO x levels were found marginally to reduce gestational age (p < 0.05) with mothers carrying male neonates. Variant GSTP1 and living in the north were factors that contributed to gestational age reduction (p < 0.05). Our study demonstrated that NO x exposure resulted in increased 8-OHdG levels in pregnant women living in Durban, SA, which led to gestational age reduction. The GSTP1 variant increased susceptibility of individuals to harmful effects of NO x .



S.M. Anderson was supported by the National Research Foundation Innovative Doctoral Scholarship (Grant UID: 88564). This research was supported by the National Research Foundation (Grant UID: 90550), Medical Research Council, South Africa, AstraZeneca, South Africa and the College of Health Science, UKZN. Special thanks are given to all involved in the MACE study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

The Biomedical Research Ethics Committee of the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (BF263/12) approved the study including the use of human subjects.

Informed Consent

Informed consent from all study participants was obtained.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Discipline of Medical Biochemistry, School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, College of Health ScienceUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa
  2. 2.Discipline of Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Nursing and Public Health, College of Health ScienceUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa

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