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Environ Health Perspect. 2017 Oct 19;125(10):107007. doi: 10.1289/EHP1521.

Plasma Metal Concentrations and Incident Coronary Heart Disease in Chinese Adults: The Dongfeng-Tongji Cohort.

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Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, Key Laboratory of Environment and Health, Ministry of Education and State Key Laboratory of Environmental Health (Incubating), School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, Dongfeng Central Hospital, Hubei University of Medicine, Shiyan, China
Department of Nutrition and Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China



Circulating metals from both the natural environment and pollution have been linked to cardiovascular disease. However, few prospective studies have investigated the associations between exposure to multiple metals and incident coronary heart disease (CHD).


We conducted a nested case-control study in the prospective Dongfeng-Tongji cohort, to investigate the prospective association between plasma metal concentrations and incident CHD.


A total of 1,621 incident CHD cases and 1,621 controls free of major cardiovascular disease at baseline and follow-up visits were matched on age (±5 years) and sex. We measured baseline fasting plasma concentrations of 23 metals and used conditional logistic regression models to estimate odds ratios (ORs) of CHD for metal concentrations categorized according to quartiles in controls.


Five metals (titanium, arsenic, selenium, aluminum, and barium) were significantly associated with CHD based on trend tests from single-metal multivariable models adjusted for established cardiovascular risk factors. When all five were included in the same model, adjusted ORs for barium and aluminum were close to the null, whereas associations with titanium, arsenic, and selenium were similar to estimates from single-metal models, and ORs comparing extreme quartiles were 1.32 (95% CI: 1.03, 1.69; p-trend=0.04), 1.78 (95% CI: 1.29, 2.46; p-trend=0.001), and 0.67 (95% CI: 0.52, 0.85; p-trend=0.001), respectively.


Our study suggested that incident CHD was positively associated with plasma levels of titanium and arsenic, and inversely associated with selenium. Additional research is needed to confirm these findings in other populations.

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