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Ann Epidemiol. 2015 Jul;25(7):505-11. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2015.02.003. Epub 2015 Feb 12.

Response of biomarkers of inflammation and coagulation to short-term changes in central site, local, and predicted particle number concentrations.

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Division of Environmental Health, School of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta. Electronic address:
Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA; Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA.
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA; Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit, Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA.
Exposure Science Division, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ.
Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA.
Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA.



Previous studies have reported acute (hours-28 days) associations between ambient ultrafine particles (UFP; diameter <0.1) and biomarkers of cardiovascular health using central site data. We evaluated particle number concentration (a proxy measure for UFP) measured at a central site, a local near-highway site and predicted residential concentrations with response of biomarkers of inflammation and coagulation in a near-highway population.


Participants provided two blood samples for analysis of interleukin-6 (IL-6), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), tumor necrosis factor-α receptor II, and fibrinogen. Mixed effect models were used to evaluate the association between PNC levels on the same day, prior 2 days, and moving averages of 3 to 28 days.


Estimated effects on biomarkers of a 5000 unit increase in central site PNC generally increased with longer averaging times for IL-6, hs-CRP, and fibrinogen. Effect estimates were highest for a 28-day moving average, with 91% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 9, 230) higher IL-6 levels, 74% (95% CI: -7, 220) higher hs-CRP levels, and 59% (95% CI: -13, 130) higher fibrinogen levels. We observed no clear trend between near-highway or predicted residential PNC and any of the biomarkers.


Only central site PNC increased blood markers of inflammation while near-highway and predicted residential values did not. We cannot fully explain this result, although differing PNC composition is a possibility. Future studies would assist in understanding these findings.


Cardiovascular; Coagulation; Highway; Inflammation; Particles

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