264167 Urban Air Pollution, Systemic Inflammation, and Sub-Clinical Atherosclerosis in Ecuadorian Children

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rodrigo Armijos, MD, ScD , Department of Public Health Sciences, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX
Margaret Weigel, PhD , Department of Public Health Sciences, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX
Nicholas Pingitore Jr., PhD , Department of Geological Sciences, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX
Wen-Whai Li, PhD , Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX
Orrin Myers, PhD , Department of Internal Medicine, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Marianne Berwick, PhD , Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics & RWJF Center for Health Policy, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Marcia Racines-Orbe, MedTech , Centro de Biomedicina, Universidad Central del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador
Exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and other urban air pollutants is linked with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality risk in adults. However, little is known about the effect of PM2.5 exposure on child health. To investigate the hypothesis that chronic childhood exposure to urban PM2.5 promotes oxidative stress, systemic inflammation, and vascular remodeling, we conducted an epidemiologic study in 300 schoolchildren (7-12 yrs), residing in a major urban center (Quito) with distinct PM gradient zones. Data were collected on PM and other air pollutants from central air monitors, inside air monitors, and an exposure questionnaire. Other data were collected on child and household characteristics, medical history, current health, anthropometry, diet, blood glucose and lipids, and systemic inflammation and endothelium activation biomarkers. Carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) was measured by ultrasound. Preliminary results showed that systemic inflammation, measured by IL-6, was significantly increased (mean log-scale difference= 0.49 0.07; P< 0.001) among children residing in higher compared to lower PM2.5 exposure zones (23.5 g/m3 vs. 16.4 g/m3). Higher exposure zone children exhibited greater endothelium activation, measured by higher mean E-selectin (0.72 0.07; P< 0.001) and ICAM (0.17 0.04; P < 0.001). They also had small but significantly increased cIMT compared to children in the lower exposure zone (0.02 0.01; P=0.032). These findings suggest that early childhood exposure to high PM2.5 promotes systemic inflammation and vascular remodeling. They are important since small but progressive increases in arterial wall thickness and stiffness can lead to earlier cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Environmental health sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the adverse impact of chronic childhood exposure to urban PM2.5 air pollution on systemic inflammation and vascular remodeling.

Keywords: Air Pollutants, Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over 20 years experience conducting funded epidemiologic, clinical and basic research on chronic and infectious diseases in Ecuador, Mexico, and the United States.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.