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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2019 Mar;39(3):513-522. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.118.311749.

Ambient Air Pollution Is Associated With HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) Dysfunction in Healthy Adults.

Li J1,2, Zhou C3,4,2, Xu H5,2, Brook RD6, Liu S1,2, Yi T1, Wang Y7, Feng B5, Zhao M3,4, Wang X3,4, Zhao Q5, Chen J5,8,9, Song X5,2, Wang T5,2, Liu S5, Zhang Y5,2, Wu R5,2, Gao J3,4,2, Pan B3,4,2, Pennathur S10, Rajagopalan S11, Huo Y1,2, Zheng L3,4,2, Huang W5,2.

Author information

From the Division of Cardiology, Peking University First Hospital, Beijing (J.L., S.L., T.Y., Y.H.).
Key Laboratory of Molecular Cardiovascular Sciences of Ministry of Education, Health Science Center (J.L., C.Z., H.X., S.L., T.Y., B.F., M.Z., X.W., Q.Z., S.L., Y.Z., R.W., X.S., T.W., J.G., B.P., Y.H., L.Z., W.H.), Peking University, Beijing.
Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences (C.Z., M.Z., X.W., J.G., B.P., L.Z.), Peking University School of Basic Medical Sciences, Beijing.
Institute of Systems Biomedicine (C.Z., M.Z., X.W., J.G., B.P., L.Z.), Peking University School of Basic Medical Sciences, Beijing.
Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, Peking University School of Public Health, Peking University Institute of Environmental Medicine (H.X., B.F., Q.Z., S.L., Y.Z., R.W., X.S., T.W., W.H., J.C.).
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine (R.D.B.), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Department of Prevention and Health Care, Hospital of Health Science Center (Y.W.), Peking University, Beijing.
Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (J.C.), University Medical Centre Utrecht, University of Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Julius Centre for Health Sciences and Primary Care (J.C.), University Medical Centre Utrecht, University of Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Division of Nephrology (S.P.), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Case Western Reserve Medical School, Cleveland OH (S.R.), Peking University, Beijing.


Objective- We aimed to assess whether exposure to higher levels of ambient air pollution impairs HDL (high-density lipoprotein) function and to elucidate the underlying biological mechanisms potentially involved. Approach and Results- In the Beijing AIRCHD study (Air Pollution and Cardiovascular Dysfunction in Healthy Adults), 73 healthy adults (23.3±5.4 years) were followed-up with 4 repeated study visits in 2014 to 2016. During each visit, ambient air pollution concentrations, HDL function metrics, and parameters of inflammation and oxidative stress were measured. Average daily concentrations of ambient particulate matter in diameter <2.5 μm were 62.9 µg/m3 (8.1-331.0 µg/m3). We observed significant decreases in HDL cholesterol efflux capacity of 2.3% (95% CI, -4.3 to -0.3) to 5.0% (95% CI, -7.6 to -2.4) associated with interquartile range increases in moving average concentrations of particulate matter in diameter <2.5 μm and traffic-related air pollutants (black carbon, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide) during the 1 to 7 days before each participant's clinic visit. Higher ambient air pollutant levels were also associated with significant reductions in circulating HDL cholesterol and apoA-I (apolipoprotein A-I), as well as elevations in HDL oxidation index, oxidized LDL (low-density lipoprotein), malondialdehyde, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. Conclusions- Higher ambient air pollution concentrations were associated with impairments in HDL functionality, potentially because of systemic inflammation and oxidative stress. These novel findings further our understanding of the mechanisms whereby air pollutants promote cardiometabolic disorders.


adult; air pollution; carbon; inflammation; oxidative stress


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