Navarro-Sempere, A., Martínez-Peinado, P., Rodrigues, A.S., Garcia, P.V., Camarinho, R., García, M. & Segovia, Y. (2021) The health hazards of volcanoes: first evidence of neuroinflammation in the hippocampus of mice exposed to active volcanic surroundings.Mediators of Inflammation, Online early, . DOI:10.1155/2021/5891095 (IF2020 4,711; Q2 Immunology)
Neuroinflammation is a process related to the onset of neurodegenerative diseases; one of the hallmarks of this process is microglial reactivation and the secretion by these cells of proinflammatory cytokines such as TNFα. Numerous studies report the relationship between neuroinflammatory processes and exposure to anthropogenic air pollutants, but few refer to natural pollutants. Volcanoes are highly inhabited natural sources of environmental pollution that induce changes in the nervous system, such as reactive astrogliosis or the blood-brain barrier breakdown in exposed individuals; however, no neuroinflammatory event has been yet defined. To this purpose, we studied resting microglia, reactive microglia, and TNFα production in the brains of mice chronically exposed to an active volcanic environment on the island of São Miguel (Azores, Portugal). For the first time, we demonstrate a proliferation of microglial cells and an increase in reactive microglia, as well an increase in TNFα secretion, in the central nervous system of individuals exposed to volcanogenic pollutants.