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Insulin testing has revealed that individuals who have been exposed to high levels of air pollution during adolescence may be more likely to become obese, develop insulin resistance and ultimately become diabetic.
Previous studies have connected air pollution to an increased risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. However, this is the first to show that it may also have an impact on an individual's metabolic function.
For the study, researchers from Ohio State University exposed adolescent mice to high levels of air pollution until the time they reached adulthood. At this point, the researchers found that the mice had higher levels of abdominal fat than normal adult mice. Additionally, they showed far greater signs of insulin resistance.
"These findings suggest that fine particulate pollution exposure alone, in the presence of a normal diet, may lead to an increase in fat cell size and number, and also have a pro-inflammatory effect," said Sanjay Rajagopalan, who led the study.
He added that these conditions significantly increase the risk of developing diabetes.
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