Acute pulmonary and inflammatory response in young adults following a scripted car commute

Abstract

In-vehicle pollution exposure has been linked to adverse health. We conducted a quasi-controlled panel study, the second Atlanta Commuters Exposures (ACE-2) study, to measure in-vehicle environmental exposures and corresponding changes in acute pulmonary and inflammatory response. ACE-2 was a randomized, crossover study of 60 adults (ages18–39 years) with or without asthma. Each participant conducted a scripted highway commute and either a surface street commute or a clinic exposure scenario, all followed by the same post-exposure health measurements. Exposures were conducted between 7 am–9 am. A range of mainly particulate matter measurements were sampled in-vehicle or indoors. Mixed effect models were used to examine time trends in health endpoints and associations between endpoints and pollutants. Participants were exposed to marginally higher pollutant concentrations during highway compared to surface street commutes. Cu was the only pollutant we measured that was significantly associated with increased eNO, lung function decrement, and increased levels of several cytokines. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels, soluble intracellular adhesive molecule-1 (sICAM-1) levels, and soluble vascular adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1) levels immediately following exposure were positively associated with elemental carbon, organic carbon, and copper. Forced vital capacity (FVC) decreased relative to pre-commute levels at four repeated measurement time points following highway exposure scenarios (range,− 1.9 to − 2.2%, p < 0.05). Similarly, decrements in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) were more pronounced following highway commutes than clinic sessions (− 2 vs. + 1.7%, p = 0.04). We observed transient increases in systemic inflammatory and acute respiratory response following on-road commutes, associated with several primary traffic pollutants, which we believe maybe indicative of exposures to a source or traffic pollutant mixture, namely road dust or brake wear.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the ACE-2 participants for their collaboration. This work was supported by a Clean Air Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA, RD834799). R Golan acknowledges the support from the Environment and Health Fund, Jerusalem, Israel. The content of this publication is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or the US EPA. Further, US EPA does not endorse the purchase of any commercial products or services mentioned in the publication.

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Correspondence to Rachel Golan.

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All participants in the study described in the manuscript completed and returned informed consent forms prior to their participation in the study. The study protocol and all aspects of human subjects’ participation were approved and supervised by the Emory University Institutional Review Board.

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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Golan, R., Ladva, C., Greenwald, R. et al. Acute pulmonary and inflammatory response in young adults following a scripted car commute. Air Qual Atmos Health 11, 123–136 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11869-017-0530-8

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Keywords

  • Car commuters
  • In-vehicle air pollution
  • Lung function
  • Inflammation