Abstract: This review focuses on studies among pregnant women that used biomarkers to assess air pollution exposure, or to understand the mechanisms by which it affects perinatal outcomes.
We found 29 articles, mostly consisting of cohort studies. Interpolation models were most frequently used to assess exposure. The most consistent positive association was between polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure during entire pregnancy and cord blood PAH DNA adducts. Exposure to particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) showed consistent inverse associations with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content, particularly in the third trimester of pregnancy. No single pollutant showed strong associations with all the biomarkers included in this review. C-reactive proteins (CRPs) and oxidative stress markers increased, whereas telomere length decreased with increasing air pollution exposure. Placental global DNA methylation and mtDNA methylation showed contrasting results with air pollution exposure, the mechanism behind which is unclear. Most studies except those on PAH DNA adducts and mtDNA content provided insufficient evidence for characterizing a critical exposure window. Further research using biomarkers is warranted to understand the relationship between air pollution and perinatal outcomes.