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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2008 Aug 1;178(3):283-9. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200708-1286OC. Epub 2008 May 8.

Traffic-related particles are associated with elevated homocysteine: the VA normative aging study.

Author information

1
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, 109 S. Observatory Street, SPH II-M6240, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. sungkyun@umich.edu

Abstract

RATIONALE:

Recent epidemiologic studies have shown that homocysteine, a sulfur-containing amino acid formed during the metabolism of methionine, is a risk factor for atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, stroke, and thrombosis. Particulate air pollution has been related to cardiovascular death and hospital admission, but the underlying mechanisms are not fully elucidated.

OBJECTIVES:

We examined the associations between ambient particulate air pollution and plasma concentrations of homocysteine among 960 community-residing older men (mean age, 73.6 +/- 6.9 yr).

METHODS:

Total homocysteine in plasma, measured using high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection, was regressed on each ambient particulate pollutant (black carbon, organic carbon, sulfate or PM(2.5)), and effect modification by plasma and dietary B vitamins (folate, B6, and B12) was examined.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:

The median concentration of total homocysteine was 10.6 micromol/L. Statistically significant positive associations of total homocysteine were observed with traffic-related particles (black carbon and organic carbon). No association was observed with sulfate, an indicator of coal combustion particles, or PM(2.5) (particulate matter < or = 2.5 microm in aerodynamic diameter). The effects of black carbon and organic carbon were more pronounced in persons with low concentrations of plasma folate and vitamin B12.

CONCLUSIONS:

Exposures to ambient particles, particularly from traffic, are associated with elevated plasma total homocysteine. Homocysteine may be a component or biological marker of the oxidation pathways underlying the effect of ambient particles on the cardiovascular system.

PMID:
18467508
PMCID:
PMC2542426
DOI:
10.1164/rccm.200708-1286OC
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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