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Effects of short- and long-term exposures to particulate matter on inflammatory marker levels in the general population

Abstract

The effect of particulate matter (PM) on health increases with exposure duration but the change from short to longer term is not well studied. We examined the exposure to PM smaller 10 μm (PM10) from short to longer duration and their associations with levels of inflammatory markers in the population-based CoLaus cohort in Lausanne, Switzerland. Baseline and follow-up CoLaus data were used to study the associations between PM10 exposure and inflammatory markers, including the high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP), as well as interleukin 1-beta (IL-1β), interleukin 6 (IL-6), and tumor-necrosis-factor alpha (TNF-α) using mixed models. Exposure was determined for each participant’s home address from hourly air quality simulations at a 5-m resolution. Short-term exposure intervals were 1 day, 1 week, and 1 month prior to the hospital visit (blood withdrawal); long-term exposure intervals were 3 and 6 months prior to the visit. In most time windows, IL-6, IL-1β, and TNF-α were positively associated with PM10. No significant associations were identified for CRP. Adjusted associations with long-term exposures were stronger and more significant than those for short-term exposures. In stratified models, gender, age, smoking status, and hypertension only led to small modifications in effect estimates, though a few of the estimates for IL-6 and TNF-α became non-significant. In this general adult cohort exposed to relatively low average PM10 levels, clear associations with markers of systemic inflammation were observed. Longer duration of elevated exposure was associated with an exacerbated inflammatory response. This may partially explain the elevated disease risk observed with chronic PM10 exposure. It also suggests that reducing prolonged episodes of high PM exposure may be a strategy to reduce inflammatory risk.

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Acknowledgments

We express our gratitude to participants in the CoLaus studies and to the healthcare professionals and collaborators who have contributed to the data collection. We thank MeteoSwiss for providing the meteorological data and the National Air Pollution Monitoring Network (NABEL) for providing air pollution data in Lausanne. We thank the Direction Générale du Canton de Vaud for providing in situ data and a pollution inventory for the city of Lausanne.

Funding

The CoLaus study was and is supported by research grants from GlaxoSmithKline, the Faculty of Biology and Medicine of Lausanne, and the Swiss National Science Foundation (grants 33CSCO-122661, 33CS30-139468, and 33CS30-148401). We also thank the funding from Nano-Tera.ch to support Dai-Hua Tsai for doing this work (grant RTD2013: 20NA20_150956).

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Correspondence to Murielle Bochud.

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Tsai, DH., Riediker, M., Berchet, A. et al. Effects of short- and long-term exposures to particulate matter on inflammatory marker levels in the general population. Environ Sci Pollut Res 26, 19697–19704 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-05194-y

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Keywords

  • Particulate matter
  • Inflammation
  • Short-term
  • Long-term
  • Modeling
  • Air pollution