Air pollutants and blood markers

Epidemiological research has shown that ambient air pollution is associated with an increase in morbidity and mortality of cardiovascular diseases. Hypotheses for chronic and acute impacts of air pollution, especially particulate matter, include a particle-induced systemic subclinical inflammation. The research proposed here will evaluate novel air pollution exposure metrics and analyse novel biomarkers of response. I plan to evaluate novel markers of air pollution such as particle density, particle surface or particle length which might better characterise hazardous properties of particles in addition to the traditionally measured size ranges of air pollutants. Associations between acute exposure to air pollution and repeatedly measured markers for inflammation, coagulation and pro-oxidant activity will be examined in participants with type 2 diabetes, patients with impaired glucose tolerance and individuals with genetic susceptibility on detoxifying pathways. Moreover, novel blood markers will be investigated in a population-based cohort in Augsburg comparing blood marker levels before, during and after a severe air pollution episode in 1985. In addition, associations between these blood markers and long-term exposure to air pollution will be analysed. The results of this work will (i) identify new air pollution parameters that might give better insight into the association with health outcomes than currently used size measures, (ii) explain why patients with metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes seem to be especially susceptible to air pollution and (iii) clarify hypothesised links between air pollution and adverse cardiovascular outcomes.


Project board: Dr. Regina Pickford


Project partner: Institut für Epidemiologie II am HMGU (Prof. Dr. Annette Peters)


Duration of project: June 2013 - May 2017


Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)