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Arch Environ Occup Health. 2011;66(3):155-65. doi: 10.1080/19338244.2010.539636.

Fine particulate matter (PM₂.₅) air pollution and immune status among women in the Seattle area.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.


Changes in immune status have been suggested as a possible biologic mechanism by which particulate matter (PM) air pollution could lead to adverse health effects. The authors studied associations between ambient PM₂.₅ and immune status among 115 postmenopausal, overweight women in the greater Seattle, Washington, area. The authors evaluated 3-day, 30-day, and 60-day average PM₂.₅ values in relation to inflammation markers (C-reactive protein, serum amyloid A, interleukin-6) and functional assays of cellular immunity (natural killer cell cytotoxicity, T-lymphocyte proliferation) at 3 time points for each woman during 1 year. Three-day averaged PM₂.₅ was inversely associated with anti-CD3-stimulated lymphocyte proliferation. There were no notable associations between the inflammation markers and PM₂.₅. If additional studies confirm our findings, then future health effect assessments for PM₂.₅ should consider changes in cellular immunity as an endpoint that may lead to overt clinical disease.

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