Effect of Diesel Exhaust Particulate Exposures on Endothelial Function in Humans: The Role of Oxidative Stress

EPA Grant Number: R830954
Title: Effect of Diesel Exhaust Particulate Exposures on Endothelial Function in Humans: The Role of Oxidative Stress
Investigators: Kaufman, Joel D. , Sheppard, Lianne (Elizabeth) A. , Koenig, Jane Q. , Larson, Timothy V. , Trenga, Carol , Leotta, Daniel , Gill, Edward , Sullivan, Jeff , Yost, Michael , Chandler, Wayne
Institution: University of Washington
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: August 15, 2003 through August 14, 2006 (Extended to August 14, 2008)
Project Amount: $1,036,972
RFA: Airborne Particulate Matter Health Effects: Cardiovascular Mechanisms (2002) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Particulate Matter , Air , Health Effects


This proposal addresses the overall hypothesis that ambient fine particulate matter exerts cardiovascular health effects via alteration of endothelial homeostasis through a mechanism mediated by oxidative stress. This project will use a controlled human inhalation exposure to diesel exhaust particulate (DEP) as a model to address the following objectives: 1) determine whether exposure to inhaled DEP is associated with endothelial dysfunction in a concentration-related manner; 2) determine whether exposure to inhaled DEP is associated with evidence of systemic oxidative stress; and 3) determine whether antioxidant supplementation blunts the DEP effect on endothelial function.


Three crossover experiments (each randomized, balanced with regard to order, and separated by appropriate washout interval) will expose healthy subjects to well-characterized DEP in two-hour sessions in an inhalation chamber system mimicking ambient particulate matter from contemporary diesel engines.

First, 24 subjects will be exposed to DEP at each of three concentrations [0 (filtered air, FA), 100, or 200 µg/m3], and endothelial function will be assessed post-exposure through ultrasonographic measurement of endothelial-dependent flow-mediated vasodilation of the brachial artery, plasma markers of endothelial homeostasis (endothelin-1, ICAM-1, e-selectin, NO3-/NO2-, IL-6, and TNF-a), and markers of thrombosis associated with endothelial activation (PAI-1, D-dimer, and VWF).

Second, 10 subjects will be exposed to FA or DEP at 200 µg/m3 and then monitored intensively in the clinical research center for evidence of systemic oxidative stress using serial assessment of markers in plasma (GSH/GSSG, TBARS, oxidized LDL, and ascorbate) and urine (isoprostane F-2a).

Finally, 24 subjects will be administered the antioxidants ascorbate and N-acetylcysteine, or placebos, and then exposed to DEP or FA in a double-blinded four-condition experiment, and subsequently assessed for endothelial function, to determine the effect of antioxidants on DEP's impact on endothelial function.

Expected Results:

These experiments will provide valuable insight into a potential underlying mechanism of cardiovascular health effects of combustion-derived PM, and test a hypothesis that can explain both acute and chronic effects found in epidemiologic studies.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 33 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 10 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

ambient air, human health, dose-response, mobile sources., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Air, HUMAN HEALTH, particulate matter, air toxics, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, Exposure, Risk Assessments, Susceptibility/Sensitive Population/Genetic Susceptibility, mobile sources, genetic susceptability, Biology, copollutant exposures, sensitive populations, engine exhaust, atmospheric particulate matter, cardiopulmonary responses, fine particles, morbidity, PM 2.5, airway epithelial cells, diesel engines, inhaled pollutants, acute lung injury, air pollution, automotive exhaust, diesel exhaust, susceptible subpopulations, endothelial function, cardiopulmonary response, chronic health effects, lung inflammation, oxidant gas, particulate exposure, heart rate, ambient particle pollution, Acute health effects, highrisk groups, inhaled, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, human susceptibility, diesel exhaust particles, cardiopulmonary, cardiotoxicity, mortality, diesel exhaust particulate, acute exposure, air quality, cardiovascular disease, biomarker, toxics, concentrated particulate matter, environmental hazard exposures, air contaminant exposure, co-pollutants, airborne urban contaminants

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2004 Progress Report
  • 2005 Progress Report
  • 2006 Progress Report
  • 2007 Progress Report
  • Final Report