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Hypertension. 2007 Nov;50(5):970-6. Epub 2007 Sep 17.

Endothelial function and chronic exposure to air pollution in normal male subjects.

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1
Faculté de Médecine René Descartes, Université Paris-Descartes, INSERM, UMR872, Paris, France.

Abstract

Exposure to urban air pollution, ultrafine particles or gases, is associated with acute cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. We investigated the effect of ambient air pollution on endothelial function in 40 healthy white male nonsmokers spontaneously breathing ambient air in Paris, France. Air pollutant levels (nitrogen, sulfur and carbon oxides, and particulate matter) were averaged during the 5 days preceding arterial measurements. Brachial artery endothelium-dependent flow-mediated dilatation and reactive hyperemia induced by hand ischemia and endothelium-independent glyceryl trinitrate dilatation were measured using a radiofrequency-based echo-tracking device at 2-week intervals. Flow-mediated dilatation was independently and negatively correlated with the average levels of sulfur dioxide (P<0.001) and nitrogen monoxide (P<0.01). Sulfur dioxide levels explained 19% of the variance of flow-mediated dilatation. An increase in gaseous pollutants, 2 weeks apart, was significantly associated with a decreased in flow-mediated dilatation. No association was found between air pollutants and glyceryl trinitrate-induced vasodilatation. Reactive hyperemia was significantly and positively correlated with particulate matter with aerodynamic diameters <10 microm and <2.5 microm (P<0.0001 and P<0.001, respectively) and nitrogen dioxide (P<0.01). An increase in particulate matter, 2 weeks apart, was significantly correlated with an increase in reactive hyperemia. Endothelial function was impaired by ordinary levels of pollution in healthy young males, in an urban area, and may be reduced by 50% between the least and the most polluted day. Gaseous pollutants affect large artery endothelial function, whereas particulate matter exaggerates the dilatory response of small arteries to ischemia.

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