Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Air pollution may cause and speed up artery disease

08.11.2004


Air pollution may trigger and accelerate narrowing of carotid arteries, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2004.



Researchers found an association between long-term air pollution exposure and the early stages of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). "We knew that people in more polluted areas die earlier from cardiovascular disease, but it was not clear how early in the disease process air pollution contributes. Our study found that air pollution may contribute to cardiovascular problems at a very early stage of the disease, similar to smoking, and enhances atherosclerosis, which is the underlying disease process of cardiovascular diseases," said study author Nino Kuenzli, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, division of environmental health, Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Researchers reviewed data from two clinical trials on 798 people age 40 and older who lived in the Los Angeles area. The data included baseline measurements of the thickness of the inner lining of participants’ neck arteries (carotid artery intima-media thickness or CIMT). CIMT is measured by ultrasound and used to determine the level of subclinical atherosclerosis.


Researchers then assigned a PM2.5 particle level to the study subjects’ home ZIP codes. PM2.5 particles are pollutants with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less. They are commonly produced by burning fossil fuels such as driving cars, and smelting and processing metals. They are tiny enough to be inhaled into the smallest airways. PM2.5 levels are measured in micrograms per meter cubed (ug/m3). In this study, readings ranged from 5.2 to 26.9 ug/m3.

For every 10 ug/m3 increase of PM2.5, CIMT increased by 5.9 percent. After adjusting for age, socio-demographic, lifestyle (including active and passive smoking) and physiological factors, researchers determined that CIMT rose by 3.9 percent to 4.3 percent for every 10 ug/m3 increase in PM2.5. The association between air pollution and CIMT was even greater among people over age 60, women and people taking cholesterol-lowering medication. Overall, the strongest association was seen in women age 60 or older, with a 15.7 percent increase in CIMT for every 10 ug/m3 increase of PM2.5.

Kuenzli said that the air pollution causes the body to produce oxidants (unstable molecules) that cause inflammatory reactions in both the respiratory tract and blood vessels, triggering artery damage. Some air particles find their way into the blood or even the brain, he said. Other constituents of air pollution may be neutralized locally, but secondary reaction products may still cause systemic responses. "The responses may involve both the autonomic nervous system (which controls breathing and blood pressure) and inflammation in the blood. Both pathways together can lead to a state of subclinical chronic inflammation, causing adverse consequences in the blood vessels where oxidized lipids damage the artery walls. This can lead to thickening of the artery wall, calcification and plaques – and ultimately ruptures," Kuenzli said.

"It is interesting that the effects of air pollution were particularly strong in older women. Also, those with increased cardiovascular risk profiles appeared to be at higher risk of an association between air pollution and narrowing of the arteries," he said. "However, the study is too small and not designed to clarify whether effects are truly different in men and women, old and young, or whether part of the differences are caused by uncertainties such as in how exposure was assessed," Kuenzli said. "Given that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death, and that large populations are exposed to ambient PM2.5 at the levels observed in this study, these findings need to be corroborated. The public health implications could be immense," he said.

Co-authors are Wendy J. Mack, Ph.D.; Howard N. Hodis, M.D.; Michael Jerrett, Ph.D.; Laurie LaBree, M.S.; Frank Gilliland, M.D., Ph.D.; Duncan Thomas, Ph.D.; John Peters, M.D., Sc.D.; and doctoral student Bernardo Beckermann.

Carole Bullock | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.heart.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>