Long-term Exposure to Ambient Particulate Matter and Subclinical Atherosclerosis

EPA Grant Number: CR830543
Title: Long-term Exposure to Ambient Particulate Matter and Subclinical Atherosclerosis
Investigators: Diez Roux, Ana V. , Keeler, Gerald J. , Lin, Xihong , Samson, Perry
Current Investigators: Diez Roux, Ana V. , Auchincloss, Amy H , Dvonch, J. Timothy , Keeler, Gerald J. , O'Neill, Marie , Raghunathan, Trivellore , Samson, Perry
Institution: University of Michigan
Current Institution: University of Michigan , Drexel University
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: April 1, 2003 through March 31, 2006 (Extended to March 31, 2008)
Project Amount: $768,990
RFA: Epidemiologic Research on Health Effects of Long-Term Exposure to Ambient Particulate Matter and Other Air Pollutants (2002) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Health Effects , Particulate Matter , Air


The general aim of the project is to determine if long-term exposure to airborne particles is related to the development of atherosclerosis. Objectives are: (1) to examine the relationship between long-term exposure to air particles and the prevalence of subclinical atherosclerotic disease after controlling for established cardiovascular risk factors and key co-pollutants; (2) to examine if established cardiovascular risk factors modify the relation between long-term exposure to airborne particles and prevalence of subclinical disease; (3) to examine if associations between long-term exposure and atherosclerosis are similar in different race/ethnic groups; and (4) to examine associations between current and recent exposure to air particles and inflammatory markers (a potential biologic mechanism linking air particle exposure to atherosclerosis).


Data on long-term exposure to PM10, estimated PM2.5, and the co-pollutants CO and NO2 will be obtained for 6500 persons participating in the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), an ongoing NHLBI-funded longitudinal study of subclinical atherosclerosis. Three state-of the art measures of subclinical atherosclerosis (ultrasound assessed carotid intimal-medial wall thickness, CT assessed coronary calcium, and ankle-brachial blood pressure index) will be investigated. Detailed information on residential history since 1987 will be obtained from MESA participants. Residential history since 1987 will be linked in time and space to exposure estimates obtained by interpolation from the nationwide monitoring network for ambient air pollution. While PM10 will provide the most direct measure of long-term PM exposure in this study, estimates of PM2.5 from 1987 to the present will be obtained using limited available PM2.5 data in conjunction with site-specific regression models on PM10. Long-term measures of exposure will be examined in relation to subclinical disease measures at baseline. Recent and current daily levels of PM2.5, PM10, CO, NO2, and Ozone will be examined in relation to concurrent measures of inflammatory markers obtained in the MESA baseline visit.

Expected Results:

The project will use an existing cohort and existing current and historical exposure data to answer the following questions: Is 15-year exposure to air particles related to atherosclerotic burden in adulthood? Are persons with cardiovascular risk factors more vulnerable to these effects? Are associations similar in different race/ethnic groups? Is concurrent exposure related to current levels of inflammatory markers? This information will strengthen inferences regarding whether air particles are related to the development of atherosclerosis. Confirmation of a causal relationship would have major implications for disease prevention and for policies regarding levels of particles. In addition, developing PM exposure measures for this unique multi-ethnic cohort will make it possible to study a variety of future acute and chronic cardiac outcomes as cohort follow-up continues.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 11 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 6 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

exposure, ambient air, health effects, sensitive populations, epidemiology,, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Air, particulate matter, Health Risk Assessment, Risk Assessments, Physical Processes, Environmental Monitoring, human health effects, long term exposure, exposure, airborne particulate matter, atherosclerosis, air pollution, particle exposure, human exposure, ambient particle health effects, Acute health effects, aersol particles, human health risk

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • 2005 Progress Report
  • 2006
  • Final Report