Cardiovascular Toxicology

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 97–108 | Cite as

Acrolein Inhalation Alters Myocardial Synchrony and Performance at and Below Exposure Concentrations that Cause Ventilatory Responses

  • Leslie C. Thompson
  • Allen D. Ledbetter
  • Najwa Haykal-Coates
  • Wayne E. Cascio
  • Mehdi S. Hazari
  • Aimen K. Farraj


Acrolein is an irritating aldehyde generated during combustion of organic compounds. Altered autonomic activity has been documented following acrolein inhalation, possibly impacting myocardial synchrony and function. Given the ubiquitous nature of acrolein in the environment, we sought to better define the immediate and delayed functional cardiac effects of acrolein inhalation in vivo. We hypothesized that acrolein inhalation would increase markers of cardiac mechanical dysfunction, i.e., myocardial dyssynchrony and performance index in mice. Male C57Bl/6J mice were exposed to filtered air (FA) or acrolein (0.3 or 3.0 ppm) for 3 h in whole-body plethysmography chambers (n = 6). Echocardiographic analyses were performed 1 day before exposure and at 1 and 24 h post-exposure. Speckle tracking echocardiography revealed that circumferential strain delay (i.e., dyssynchrony) was increased at 1 and 24 h following exposure to 3.0 ppm, but not 0.3 ppm, when compared to pre-exposure and/or FA exposure. Pulsed wave Doppler of transmitral blood flow revealed that acrolein exposure at 0.3 ppm, but not 3.0 ppm, increased the Tei index of myocardial performance (i.e., decreased global heart performance) at 1 and 24 h post-exposure compared to pre-exposure and/or FA exposure. We conclude that short-term inhalation of acrolein can acutely modify cardiac function in vivo and that echocardiographic evaluation of myocardial synchrony and performance following exposure to other inhaled pollutants could provide broader insight into the health effects of air pollution.


Acrolein Echocardiography Myocardial strain Myocardial dyssynchrony Tei index 



We would like to acknowledge John Havel for his outstanding effort generating the illustrations in Figs. 1 and 2. Judy Richards at USEPA conducted the Konelab assays on the BAL fluid samples. Finally, we would like to thank Dr. Ian Gilmour, Dr. Jan Dye, and Dr. Chris Gordon of the USEPA for their thorough review of this manuscript before submission.

Supplementary material

12012_2016_9360_MOESM1_ESM.docx (742 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 741 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leslie C. Thompson
    • 1
  • Allen D. Ledbetter
    • 1
  • Najwa Haykal-Coates
    • 1
  • Wayne E. Cascio
    • 1
  • Mehdi S. Hazari
    • 1
  • Aimen K. Farraj
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Public Health DivisionUnited States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)Research Triangle ParkUSA

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